66 in 52 Challenge

Ezra and Nehemiah – Week 14 {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 14 - Ezra, Nehemiah

The Big Picture of Ezra and Nehemiah:

Originally, Ezra and Nehemiah were considered one book. In some later manuscripts they were divided into three, telling the three main stories of the book, though most modern Scriptures have two books. Together they tell of the return of some of God’s people from exile. First, Zerubbabel leads a group to rebuild the temple. Then Ezra works on reminding the people of God’s commands, and Nehemiah returns in the midst of this to rebuild the city walls. This all happens over the course of almost 100 years (Approx. 538 B.C. – 443 B.C.).

Key Events in Ezra and Nehemiah:

(The approximate dates below were found at this website.)

  • Ezra 1 –  – King Cyrus declares that the Jews can go back to Jerusalem (Approx. 538 B.C.)
  • Ezra 2 – A list of all who returned and the gifts they gave to rebuild the temple.
  • Ezra 3 – Altar restored, sacrifices were made, temple reconstruction begins (approx. 536 B.C.)
  • Ezra 4 – Construction on the temple stops (approx. 535 B.C.)
  • Ezra 5-6 – Temple construction resumes and is completed (approx. 515 B.C.)
  • Ezra 7-8 – Ezra returns to Jerusalem with more exiles (approx. 458 B.C.)
  • Nehemiah 2-3 – Nehemiah returns to lead a group of people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (approx. 444 B.C.)
  • Nehemiah 4-5 – Conflict with people surrounding the city trying to stop them from rebuilding
  • Nehemiah 6 – The wall rebuilt in only 52 days
  • Nehemiah 8 – Ezra reads the Book of the Law to the people (approx. 443)
  • Ne

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 (two this week since we’re in two books!). 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.

  • ‘Rise up, this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it!” Ezra 10:4
    REFLECTION: Sometimes we need to stop and let someone else, maybe even God take care of a situation. Other times we need to rise up and do what we’ve been called to do. What “matter is in your hands” this week that you need to take courage and do? Who is around you to support you?
  • “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord.” Ezra 3:11
    REFLECTION: What can you praise and thank God for today? Is there a song your can play or sing that represents your praise well?
  • Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14
    REFLECTION:  What does fighting for your family look like this week? Who is “them” that you need to not be afraid of? How can you focus on the great and awesome Lord who fights for your family in the middle of whatever you’re facing this week?
  • “Yet our God turned the curse into a blessing.” Nehemiah 13:2
    REFLECTION:  Where has God turned a bad situation into a blessing in your life recently?

God’s Grace in Ezra and Nehemiah:

Grace is all about what’s undeserved. Multiple times throughout these two books these leaders get undeserved gifts. Just take Nehemiah for example. When he asks his leader, the king, for permission to return, God’s favor is upon Nehemiah. The King not only lets Nehemiah go, but sends all kinds of supplies to help in the process. God provides all Nehemiah needs to do what He has called him to do. This grace had to be encouraging to him as he thought about the huge task before him and endure great opposition. I am so thankful that we serve a God who provides all we need… and then some.

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

2 Chronicles – Week 13 {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 plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought 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!

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Week 13 - 2 Chronicles

The Big Picture of 2 Chronicles:

Last week I mentioned that 2 Chronicles can sometimes feel like a repeat of stories we’ve already heard.  Originally 1 and 2 Chronicles would have been one book, so obviously this second book picks up where the first leaves off around the time of the death of King David. Solomon is now King and this book recaps history all the way up to the time of Jerusalem being captured. It literally means “the events of the years.”

The Message and Purpose of Chronicles:

I shared the following last week from the “She Reads Truth” Bible about 1 and 2 Chronicles. I was originally planning to change this section, but as I glanced back through it I found it interested to read here right in the middle of the book. Perhaps take some time to think about where you have seen these things already and then watch for them again as we read this week.

“Having resettled in Jerusalem after the exile, the Israelites needed to reconnect with their identity as the people of God. Chronicles met this purpose by reminding them of their heritage and by directing them back to God’s presence in their midst as symbolized by the temple. The important ideas emphasized in 1 and 2 Chronicles are:

  1. A direct connection to God’s people in the past
  2. The continuity of the line of David on the throne of Judah
  3. The centrality of the temple and its rituals in focusing on God
  4. The importance of music in worshiping God
  5. The invincibility of God’s people when they obey Him
  6. The inevitability of punishment when God’s people disobey Him.”

(She Reads Truth Bible, pg 595)

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 (two this week since we’re in two books!). 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.

  • Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
    REFLECTION: What would it look like for you to humble yourself and pray and seek God’s face this week? 
  • “Solomon went up there before the LORD to the bronze altar which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.” 2 Chronicles 1:6
    REFLECTION: Wow. A thousand burnt offerings. That’s a lot. What kind of extravagant worship and sacrifice can you offer God this week as a way to praise and honor Him?
  • “…For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12
    REFLECTION: Where in life right now do you feel like, “God, I just don’t know what to do!!!” What can you do today to get your eyes back on God even in the middle of that uncertainty?

God’s Grace in 2 Chronicles:

God’s grace in some books like 2 Chronicles might be described a little like “tough love”. At first a lot of what we read seems so harsh and rigid. Yet, when we take a step back, we see that God sometimes allows His children to experience the consequences of their sin because it’s in their best interest. My pastor often talks about how God first tries to woo his children and win them over with His love and kindness. However, if that doesn’t work, He is willing to let hard things happen to them in order to draw them back to Himself. It’s not out of wrath or meanness that He allows punishment, it’s out of His strong desire to have relationships restored. I guess, like an earthly parent does for their kids, it’s true that sometimes we do need a little tough love in order to get us back on the right track, the place that’s best for us. We see this a lot in 2 Chronicles and, at least for me, it causes me to long for the day our Savior King, Jesus, will come and reign in all His glory with no more pain, tears, sin, or hurt.

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

1 Chronicles – Week 12 {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 plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought 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!

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Week 12 - 1 Chronicles

The Big Picture of 1Chronicles:

As we venture into Chronicles, we start to get a summary of sorts of everything that’s happened so far. Originally these books (1 and 2 Chronicles) would have actually been one book. Also, in the Jewish ordering of Scripture this book would have been at the end, recapping all that had happened. This first book centers around King David’s lifetime, though the first chapter’s genealogy takes us all the way back to Adam. Combined with Ezra and Nehemiah in our ordering we truly get a glimpse of Adam all the way through the return from exile and the rebuilding of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles takes us through the death of King David and Solomon becoming king.

While reading through 1 and 2 Chronicles sometimes it can feel a bit like a repeat since we have heard many of the stories before, but stick with it; I believe God has each book hear for a reason and we can continue to grow and learn!

The Message and Purpose of Chronicles:

I think the “She Reads Truth” Bible describes well why this book is so important:

“Having resettled in Jerusalem after the exile, the Israelites needed to reconnect with their identity as the people of God. Chronicles met this purpose by reminding them of their heritage and by directing them back to God’s presence in their midst as symbolized by the temple. The important ideas emphasized in 1 and 2 Chronicles are:

  1. A direct connection to God’s people in the past
  2. The continuity of the line of David on the throne of Judah
  3. The centrality of the temple and its rituals in focusing on God
  4. The importance of music in worshiping God
  5. The invincibility of God’s people when they obey Him
  6. The inevitability of punishment when God’s people disobey Him.”

(She Reads Truth Bible, pg 595)

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 (two this week since we’re in two books!). 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.

  • “David assigned the following men to lead the music at the house of the Lord after the Ark was placed there. They ministered with music at the Tabernacle until Solomon build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.” 1 Chronicles 6:31-32
    REFLECTION: What impact has music had in your life and worship?
  • “O Lord, there is no one like you. we have never even heard of another God like you!” 1 Chronicles 17:20
    REFLECTION: This verse comes in the middle of a prayer of thanks and praise by David. What can you thank and praise God for today? 
  • “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” 1 Chronicles 29:11
    REFLECTION: Make a list of where you have seen each of the following recently in your life or the lives of those around you: God’s greatness, God’s power, God’s glory, God’s victory, God’s majesty. 

God’s Grace in 1 Chronicles:

If we were in the group of original hearers/readers of Chronicles, I think it would be hard to read. I know hearing the things humans have done throughout history is even hard for me today. To see all the murder, rape, hatred, and destruction in the last few books we read was hard enough, we don’t need it recapped in this one. But maybe we do. Maybe we need to remember the good and the bad. Maybe there is where we see again our desperate need for a Savior. Looking at our past explains, to some extent, who we’ve become. Seeing our scars helps us navigate the future, hopefully better. It reminds me of a new song out by I Am They called ‘Scars’. The chorus says:

So, I’m thankful for the scars
Cause’ without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars

As we reflect on collective history as humankind and on our own pasts, may we see God’s presence every step of the way. May we know that in the times of the deepest wounds and the biggest scars, there we knew God’s heart.

 

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

1 & 2 Kings – Week 11 {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 plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought 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!

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Week 11 - 1, 2 Kings

The Big Picture of 1 and 2 Kings:

In 1 and 2 Samuel we heard the stories of the first two kings, Saul and David. The two books we’ll dig into this week tell the stories of many kings who came after them. Some did well and sought to follow after God. Many did not. Throughout the book we hear stories of Solomon and other kings, the construction of the temple, Elijah and Elisha’s ministry along with many prophets who rise up to help try to get God’s people back on track, and ultimately the fall of Jerusalem and exile. Through it all we see a theme of God’s faithfulness contrasted with His people’s failures. The author of 1 and 2 Kings is unknown.

Timeline of Key Events in 1 and 2 Kings:

These are some of the estimated dates of some key events that are written about in these books. For the full list click here: 1 Kings or 2 Kings

  • 970 BC – David’s death (1 Kings 1)
  • 967 BC – Solomon asks for wisdom (1 Kings 3, 4)
  • 966 BC – Building of the Temple (1 Kings 6)
  • 931 BC – Solomon’s Death (1 Kings 11)
  • 931 BC – The Kingdom is divided – Judea and Israel (1 Kings 12, 13)
  • 913 BC – Rehoboam’s Reign (1 Kings 14)
  • 913 BC – Abijam’s Reign (1 Kings 15)
  • 886 BC – Elah, Zimri, and Ormi’s Reigns (1 Kings 16)
  • 963 BC – Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18)
  • 858 BC – Elisha’s Call (1 Kings 19)
  • 852 BC – Elijah Taken up to Heaven (2 Kings 2)
  • 849 BC – The Healing of Naaman (2 Kings 5)
  • 835 BC – Joash’s reign – one of the only good ones (2 Kings 12)
  • 812 BC – Temple repaired (2 Kings 12)
  • 722 BC – Israel Led into Captivity (2 Kings 17)
  • 712 BC – Hezekiah’s Illness and Healing (2 Kings 20)
  • 640 BC – Josiah’s Reign (2 Kings 22)
  • 588 BC – Siege and Fall of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25)

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 (two this week since we’re in two books!). 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.

  • “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below–you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.” 1 Kings 8:23
    REFLECTION: How has God been faithful to you and shown you His love lately? Make a list!
  • “After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper.”  1 Kings 19:11b-12
    REFLECTION: What loud/hard/big things have happened lately that God hasn’t really been “in”? Where did he show up in the midst of those things for you?

  • “First seek the counsel of the Lord…” 1 Kings 22:5b
    REFLECTION: What does this look like for you ?

  • “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord…” 2 Kings 3:18
    REFLECTION: What feels hard in your life right now? How does it make you feel to know that any hard thing for us is still easy in God’s eyes?

  • “Rather, worship the Lord your God: It is He who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” 2 Kings 17:39
    REFLECTION: What are your “go-to” things to worship that you think might deliver you? How can you refocus your soul on the only one who brings rest and deliverance?

God’s Grace in 1 and 2 Kings:

The Gospel coalition describes the grace of God in these books this way:

1 and 2 Kings show God’s grace in repeatedly prolonging the exacting of justice and judgment for kingly sin ‘for the sake of’ David.

It also reminded that when we read this type of literature in Scripture there is something called “corporate solidarity”. This basically means that one person (the king) represented the people as a whole, and the people were for the king. When we see that whether it was “the people” who rebelled or “the King”, God’s grace, justice, and mercy were faithful always.

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

2 Samuel – Week 10 {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 plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought 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!

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Week 10 - 2 Samuel

The Big Picture of 2 Samuel:

As you could imagine, 2 Samuel picks up the narrative where 1 Samuel stops. The first book ends at the death of the first King. David hears about this event and grieves for Saul and his sons in the first chapter of 2 Samuel before being anointed as King. There is a split among the people though and David was only king over the people of Judah while one of Saul’s sons, Ish-bosheth was made the King of Israel. Eventually David was also anointed king of Israel and the rest of the book outlines various battles and situations David dealt with as king including some of his faults and sins. Solomon, David’s son, was also born in chapter 12 and when we pick up his story in the next book (1 Kings), he becomes the next King.

2 Samuel Events Mentioned in the Psalms:

Many of the events narrated in 1 and 2 Samuel are also mentioned in various Psalms (songs). You might consider reading some of these Psalms along side the events in Samuel. (List adapted from one found at esv.org)

  • 2 Samuel 8 – Victory over many kings – Psalm 60
  • 2 Samuel 11-12 – David’s sins of adultery and murder – Psalm 51
  • 2 Samuel 15-17 – Absolom’s revolt – Psalm 3
  • 2 Samuel 22 – Victory over all enemies – Psalm 18

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.

  • “And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.” 2 Samuel 5:10
    REFLECTION: How does the fact that God is with you give you strength for what you have before you this week?

  • “Therefore you are great O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you. … And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people…”   2 Samuel 7:22-23
    REFLECTION: It’s one thing to say there is no one like God, but it’s also cool to see that there is no one like God’s chosen people! What does that mean to you?

  • “Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. …” 2 Samuel 21:1
    REFLECTION: What “famine” do you find yourself in currently? What situation are you in where you need to seek the face of God and what would that look like?
     
  • “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my delieverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3
    REFLECTION: Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “The heart of religion lies in its personal pronouns.” This seems to be a great example of the fact that God isn’t just a God, he is OUR God. Which of these descriptions of God in these verses is most meaningful to you today and why? 

God’s Grace in 2 Samuel:

One of the most well known stories from 2 Samuel is the story of David and Bathsheba. In short, David commits adultery with Bathsheba and then when she becomes pregnant, arranges for the death of Bathsheba’s husband to cover it all up. He might have fooled some people around him, but he didn’t fool God and God sends David’s friend Nathan to call him out on his sin. While there are consequences of these decisions that don’t seem so gracious (including the death of that child), God wasn’t about to let David wander away like so many other leaders had done over time. He was prepared to call David out in order to call him back into relationship with Him. This reminds me of a new song out recently called Reckless Love. The bridge and chorus say this:

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

– by Cory Asbury, Caleb Culver, and Ran Jackson

God couldn’t stand to led David wander any more and chased him down in love and grace. We know David felt that grace when we read his response to the whole situation in Psalm 51.

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

1 Samuel – Week 9 {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 plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought 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!

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Week 9 - 1 Samuel

1 Samuel in One Sentence:

“Human leaders rise and fall, but God is consistently good.” – From NewSpring Church’s Article: “Everything You Need to Know about 1 Samuel”

The Big Picture of 1 Samuel:

This book begins with the story surrounding Samuel’s birth. After years of barrenness, Samuel’s mother Hannah gives birth and dedicates Samuel to serve in the temple. By chapter three Samuel is raised up as a prophet among the Israelites. Continuing through the book we see Samuel doing his best to lead the people. When they demand a king, he warns them it may not be the best option, but they are relentless and the Lord leads Samuel to anoint the first King of Israel, Saul. We see Saul’s leadership and ultimately David (Boaz and Ruth’s great-grandson) is anointed as the king to follow Saul. David’s kingship doesn’t begin immediately though. Before he takes the throne (in 2 Samuel), we hear accounts of David’s life including the infamous story of David and Goliath, along with years running from Saul who was trying to take his life.

1 Samuel Events Mentioned in the Psalms:

Many of the events narrated in 1 and 2 Samuel are also mentioned in various Psalms (songs). You might consider reading some of these Psalms along side the events in Samuel. (List found at esv.org)

  • 1 Samuel 19:11 – David’s house surrounded – Psalm 59
  • 1 Samuel 21:10-11 – David seized by Achish – Psalm 56
  • 1 Samuel 21:12-22:1 -David escapes from Achish/Abimelech – Psalm 34
  • 1 Samuel 22:1, 24:3 – David in a cave – Psalm 57, 142
  • 1 Samuel 22:9-19 – Doeg the Edomite – Psalm 52
  • 1 Samuel 23:14-15 – Desert of Judah – Psalm 63
  • 1 Samuel 23:19 – David betrayed by Ziphites – Psalm 54

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.

  • “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
    REFLECTION: What great things has God done for you? How do those things lead you toward wanting to serve Him faithfully?
  • “…But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6b
    REFLECTION: What does it look like for you to find your strength in God?
  • “Do not look his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
    REFLECTION: What does God see as he looks at your heart today? Is that the same as what the world sees on the outside or do you find yourself wearing a mask? Where are you looking at the outward appearance of others instead of the heart?
  • “Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” 1 Samuel 7:12
    REFLECTION: What kind of “Ebenezer” stone do you need to place where you are right now? What are some ways you’ve seen God as a “stone of help” in your life thus far?

1 Samuel in God’s Big Story and My Story:

(Adapted from NewSpring Church’s Article: “Everything You Need to Know about 1 Samuel”)

  • God has plans that we can’t understand and often accomplishes them in ways that don’t make sense to us.
  • The people wanted a King, despite God knowing it wasn’t best, God gave them what they wanted. Sometimes God gives us what we want even when it’s not best for us.
  • God is our ultimate King. No matter what authorities we have on earth, God’s reign is forever!
  • The choices we make in life both impact and reflect the character of our soul.

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

Ruth – Week 8 {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 plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought 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!

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Week 8 - Ruth

The Big Picture of Ruth:

Ruth is the shortest book of the Bible we’ve encountered so far on the journey. Within the first verses we see that this book takes place during the time we were just reading about in Judges. A famine came upon the land and this is one family’s story of how they dealt with it. Facinating is that the book’s namesake is actually a foreigner who ends up marrying into God’s people and is part of the lineage that leads to David and then to Christ. In these four short chapters we see some of the laws God commanded in earlier books put into action, specifically those meant to protect and provide for widows and others in need.

People in the Book of Ruth:

One of things I find most facinating about the book of Ruth is the meanings of the names of the people we are introduced to. Some meanings are given even in the storyline. Here are the key players and the meanings of their names:

  • Elimelech (Naomi’s Husband) – my God is King
  • Naomi (Elimilech’s wife) – pleasantness
    Mara (later in the book Naomi changes her name to Mara for a while) – bitterness
  • Mahlon (Elimelech and Namoi’s Son) – sickly, weakness
  • Kilion (Elimelech and Namoi’s Son) – failing, pining
  • Orpah (Naomi’s daughter-in-law) – back of the neck, stubbornness
  • Ruth (Naomi’s daughter-in-law) – friend, companion
  • Boaz (Ruth’s husband…eventually) – in him there is strength
  • Obed (Boaz and Ruth’s Son) – servant

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 repay you what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2:12
    REFLECTION: What does it look like for you to take refuge in God today?
    • “I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty.” Ruth 1:16
      REFLECTION: Have you ever felt like Naomi did when she said this? What was going on? If you’re past that season, how did restoration happen? If you’re in this season right now, spend some time telling God about it and asking Him to fill you again.
    • “And now, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” Ruth 3:11
      REFLECTION: What about you would show others that you are a worthy or noble man or woman? Who is someone else you would characterize the way Boaz did Ruth? 

    God’s Grace in Ruth:

    The story starts out pretty rough. Within the first five verses a famine has caused the family to flee to another country as refugees and three women have been widowed. Despite all of that, I see the book of Ruth as one of provision. God provided Ruth and Orpah with a loving mother-in-law who obviously taught them about her God. God provided Naomi with Ruth who stuck by her in the hardest of times to provide for her. God provided food for Ruth and Naomi along with protection in Boaz’ field, not to mention an end to the famine. God provided companionship for Boaz who seems to have felt like he had given up on that dream completely. God provided a son to carry on the family name. And ultimately, at the end of the book, these people will play key roles in the lineage of David, out of which comes our Savior, Jesus.

    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!