Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(96) A promise of the coming one

The main message of the Old Testment
is that Israelites failure need not be final.
Malachi ends the message with a promise of the coming of
one like Elijah who would prepare the way for Messiah,
Jesus Christ.
As the Old Testment ends,
the true light shines through,
the Messiah.

(95) Malachi

80 years have passed since the Temple was rebuilt.

and Haggai,

The spiritual leaders have all passed away, and
Israelites' love and zeal for God have faded.

They expected their lives to be more comfortable and fruitful.
They thought as soon as they returned to their homeland,
the messiah would come at once and
make them rulers of the world.

But that did not happen,
and many became discouraged and careless.

Then God gave his messege to Israelites through Malachi.

But the people were surprised that
God found them wrong.
They no longer knew the difference between
the righteous and the evil.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

(94) Nehemiah rebuilds the wall of Jerusalem

The king also had sent army officers and
 horsemen to protect Nehemiah
for there were people who hated Nehemiah for what he doing.
Nehemiah and the other priests
started to rebuild at the sheep Gate.
They built the wall as far as the Tower of the Hundred.
People from the city of Jericho
worked next to them.
The rest of the Gates were repaired.

(93) Nehemiah concerns for Judah

Nehemiah, in Susa, was told that
the things weren't going well for those who had returned to Judah,
that they were in in trouble.
When Nehemiah heard the news of
the wall of Jerusalem being torn down,
he sat down and prayed in mourning.
"O God, please, listen to my prayer,
I know that we have sinned against you.
But please, remember your promise with us
that if we chose to return to you and obey your words,
then you will bring your people back to honor your name.
Now, be with me and touch the king's heart,
when I submit my request to the king."
Sometimes later,
Nehemiah was serving the king his wine.
Nehemiah had never appeared sad before this time,
so the king asked him,
"What happened? you look like your mind is troubled."
Nehemiah replied,
"My king, How could one be happy,
when he knows the city where his ancestors are buried is torn down."
"Well, how can i help you?"
the king asked him,
"If it is alright with you, my king,
allow me to go to Judah to rebuild the city
where my ancestors are buried."
The king granted Nehemiah's request.

(92) Ezra

Ezra was told that
many of the people of Israel have not kept
themselves seperate from the other people living in the land.
They have taken up the mal practices of the pagan idols.
God's chosen people had become polluted.
So at the time of sacrifice,
Ezra stood in front of Israelites and prayed;
"O God! I am so ashamed.
I can't even lift my head to look at you.
We have sinned greatly before you.
We have been given a new chance from you
to start over. But
we have ignored your word again!
We don't deserve to be in your presence."
When the people of Israel heard Ezra's prayer in weeping,
they too wept bitterly with him.
They began to confess their sins.
Ezra shifted the people's interest back into the word of God.

Monday, July 28, 2014

(91) The temple is being rebuilt

Zerubbabel listened and obeyed the message from God.
God filled the hearts of Zerubbabel and the others
with the enthusiasm.
They began to work on the house of God again.

(90) God calls to rebuild the temple

Years later,
some of the Israelites were allowed to return to rebuild the temple.
Israelites came back to the land with passion and
eagerness to rebuild.
But as time passed,
their priorities changed.
They began to build their own houses and
take care of their own needs.
But the things weren't getting better,
although they worked hard.
Then God gave his message through the prophet Haggai,
"Whay are you living in luxurious houses
while my house lies in ruins?
Think about why things aren't getting better.
I have called for a drought on your fields
to starve you and your cattles."

(89) Daniel in the lion's den

Darius the Mede began to rule over in Babylon.
The king chose Daniel and others to supervise many districts.
Soon Daniel proved himself more capable then
all the other officials.
So the king wanted to have Daniel
to rule over the entire empire.
The other officials hated Daniel
becuase of his untouchable abilities from God.
so they made plans to find some faults in Daniel.
But they failed to find any.
Soon after they came up with the new plan and went to the king,
"My king, to make sure your kingship is intacted,
you should give orders that anyone who prays for anyone else
,except to you, will be thrown into lions' den."
The king agreed.
Then the officials went to Daniel's house and found him praying to God.
They brought Daniel before the king.
Although the king loved Daniel,
there was no way for him to save Daniel.
Daniel was thrown into the lions' den.
The next morning, the king hurried out to the lions' den,
"Daniel! Daniel! Did you God save you from the lions?"
"My king, My God saved me from the lions
by shutting the lions' mouth
for I was innocent."
Daniel replied.
The king was very happy and lifted Daniel from the den.
Then the king ordered to throw the men who had accused Daniel
into the lions' den.

(88) 3 friends in the furnace

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue of himself,
and sent messeges to all the officials in Babylon
to come bow down;
showing their dedication.
They were ordered to worship the statue
with the sound of musical instruments.
But Daniel's 3 friends -
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah
refused to do so.
"We only worship our God,
we will never serve your gods, my king."
Then the king flew into a rage,
and ordered them to be thrown
into the furnace
Nebuchadnezzar watched them being thrown into the furnace.
But suddenly, as he was watching,
he jumped up in amazement,
"Didn't we throw 3 men into the furnace?
But I am seeing 4 men, walking.
Looks like the 4th one is an angel.
and I don't think they're being burnt."
Then the king shouted to them,
"Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah!
come out! please."
So they stepped out.
Not a hair on them was scorched.
King Nebuchadnezzar praised God
and put out a decree
not to speak against Daniel and his 3 friends' God.
3 friends were promoted as well.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

(87) Daniel interprets the king's dream

One night, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that
bothered him so much that he couldn't sleep.
He summoned his sorcerers, astrologers, and magicians and said,
"I had a dream that troubles me so much,
tell me what I dreamed, I have to know what it means.
If you guys don't tell me what it means,
I will end your lives.
But if you tell me what I dreamed, and what it means,
I will give him many gifts."
The astrologers replied to the king,
"My king, there is not a single person in this world
 who can tell your dream, unless you tell us what you dreamed!"
Nebuchadnezzar was angry to hear that,
so he sent out an order to kill all the wise men of Babylon.
When Daniel was told by the man who came to kill him,
he handled the situation with wisdom
by asking more time
with promising that he could tell the king what the dream meant.
Daniel urged his 3 friends to ask God
to show them his mercy
by revealing them the secret.
That night God revealed the secret to Daniel.
Then Daniel stood before the king.
"There is no wise men, no magician,
no sorcerer, no astrologer who can tell the king what you dreamed.
But there is God who reveals secrets.
My king, in your dream, you saw a huge statue of a man,
the head was gold,
 the chest and arms were silver,
the belly and thigh was bronze,
the legs were iron,
and the feet were iron and clay.
and a rock struck the statue,
crushing it into pieces.
God has shown you, my king, what will happen
in the future."
Then king Nebuchadnezzar bowed to Daniel, and worshiped him.
"Your God is the God of gods!"
The king appointed Daniel to a high position
and gave him many gifts.
and Daniel asked the king
to have his 3 friends to be in charge of all the cases of Babylon.

Friday, July 25, 2014

(86) Daniel becomes the king's counselor

During king Jehoiakim's reign in Judah, 
before Judah was destroyed,
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Judah
and took some treasures and
some of the young men of Judah as captives.
As for the captives,
King Nubuchadnezzar ordered his officials
to select strong, healthy, and good-looking young men
to have them serve in the royal court.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were 4 of the young men chosen.
They were to have the best food and wine,
and to be trained for 3 year period.
But Daniel and his 3 friends made up their mind
not to defile themselves by eating
the food and wine given them by the king.
The official was worried that the king might punish him
for not having them eat the best food.
So Daniel suggested him to test them
for 10 days on a diet of  vegetables and water only.
After 10 days, Daniel and his 3 friends looked
healthier than other who had been eating the food given by the king.
God also gave Daniel and his friends
wisdom and uncanny abilities for learning
the literature and science of the time.
God especially gave Daniel
an ability in understanding the meanings of
visions and dreams.
After 3 years of training,
Daniel and his 3 friends were selected
to be king's staff of advisers.

(85) The fall of Judah

Zedekiah refused to listen to God and his words.
So God finally banished the people of Judah
and sent them to exile.
God had king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to
bring the army against Judah.
They surrounded the city and
burned down the temple.
The number of captives taken to Babylon was 4,600.
King Nebuchadnezzar had ordered his guard
to find Jeremiah and spare his life.
So Jeremiah stayed in Judah among his own people.

(84) Zedekiah refuses to listen

Zedekiah began to rule over in Judah
He did what was evil in Gods sight, just as the kings before him.
Jeremiah said to Zedekiah,
"God wants you to surrender to Babylon,
then you and your family will live,
and the city will not be destroyed.
However, if you don't surrender,
then you will not escape!
and the city will be burned."
"But I don't want to surrender!
The Babylonians will probably hand me over
to the Judeans and who knows what they will do to me?"
Zedekiah replied.
"God will spare you, if you choose to obey his words.
If not, the whole city will be burned to the ground!"
Jeremiah urged him again.
Zedekiah was not pleased to listen what Jeremiah had to say,
the messege he had delivered from God.
So Zedekiah commanded that Jeremiah
to be imprisoned in the courtyard in the palace.

(83) God calls Jeremiah

During the 13th year of King Josiah's reign in Judah,
God gave this messege to Jeremiah,
"I knew you before you were born, and
chosen you as my spokesman to the world."
Jeremiah said,
"Oh no, I can't speak for you, Im' too young!"
But God reassured Jeremiah,
"Don't say that, I will put words into your mouth,
Now give thie messege o the people in Judah."
So Jeremiah went to announce to the people,
"God says: quit your evils ways, then
I will let you stay in your land.
If you think you will be safe
because the temple is here with you,
then think again, your're wrong.
I will destroy you and the temple,
send you into exile
just as I did to your relatives, Israel."
But the people rejected Jeremiah and his messege.
Jeremiah was rejected by family, friends, neighbors.
But he kept on preaching for long time after.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

(82) Josiah's religious reforms

King Josiah began to rule over in Judah.
One day, Josiah summoned all the people in Judah.
He read to them the Book of the Covenant.
He confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were in the scroll,
and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
Then Josiah also had the high priest, Hilkiah, and
other leading priests and the temple gatekeepers
to remove everything that were used to
worship idols.
Josiah tore down the houses of the idols.
He destroyed the altars that the kings of Judah had built before.
He sent away the priests of the idols.
Even with this reformations,
God's anger still burned agaisnt Judah
because of all the great evils of the kings before Josiah.

(81) King Hezekiah's boasting

Hezekiah began to rule over Judah.
He did what was pleasing in God's sight.
Hezekiah remained faithful to God in everything.
Many years later,
Hezekiah became deathly ill,
and Isaiah the prophet went to see him.
"God said ,' you must set your affairs in order
because you will die, you won't recover.'"
When Hezekiah heard this, he prayed to God,
"Please, God, remember how I remained faithful to you."
God said to Isaiah before he had left the courtyard,
"Go back to Hezekiah, I will add 15 years to his life,
I will do this to defend my honor and
for the sake of David."
Hezekiah then was recovered.
Soon after, King of Babylon sent his gifts to Hezekiah
for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
Hezekiah welcomed Babylonian envoys and
showed them everything in his treasure house; everything.
There was nothing in his palace that Hezekiah did not show them.
Then Isaiah went to see Hezekiah,
"What did they see in your palace?"
"I showed them everything!"
Hezekiah replied.
"Listen to this messege from God,
everything you have will be carried off to Babylonian soon.
and some of your sons and daughters will be taken away into exile."
Isaiah said to Hezekiah.

(80) The Fall of Israel

Hoshea ruled over Israel.
Hoshea did what was evil in God's sight.
The people in Israel also worshiped other gods,
sinning against God
They imitated the works of the pagan nations
God had driven out from the land.
They had secretly done many things
that were not pleasing to God.
God had sent his prophets many times
to have Israel turn from their evils ways.
But they did not listen.
They rejected God and his words.
So God swept them from his presence.
God punished them by handing them over to Assyria, their attacker.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

(79) Jonah 2

Then God spoke to Jonah a 2nd time:
"Go to Nineveh, and deliver my message to them."
This time Jonah obeyed God.
Jonah went to the city and shouted to the crowds.
"40 days from now the city will be destroyed!"
The people of Nineveh took the messege from God to their heart.
So they decided to fast and wear sackcloth to show their sorrow.
When God saw them trying to turn away from their evil ways,
God had mercy on them and did not destroy them.
But this change of plans made Jonah angry.
Jonah complained to God because he wanted
Nineveh to be destroyed.
Later Jonah went out and made a shelter to sit under.
He was waiting to see if anything would happen to the city.
Then God caused worms to eat the plants over the shelter.
Jonah again complained:
"Just kill me already God!
I'd rather die!"
Then God said to Jonah,
"You feel sorry about the plant you did not grow.
There are more than 120,000 people in Nineveh.
Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a big city?"

(78) Jonah 1

One day God gave this messege to Jonah:
"Go to Nineveh,
tell them my judgement is coming upon them
because of their wickedness."
But Jonah ran away.
Instaed of going to Nineveh,
he fled in the opposite direction.
As the ship was sailing along,
all of a sudden God caused a powerful wind over the sea.
It was a violent strom.
The sailors began to shout their gods' name for help.
Then they casted lots to see which of them had
offended the gods and caused the storm.
and Jonah was selected for the cause.
"What did you do to bring this curse upon us?"
They asked him.
"I tried to run away from God."
Jonah told them.
The sailors were terrified when they heard that.
"Then what should we do to stop this storm?"
they demanded.
"Throw me into the sea." Jonah said.
Jonah was thrown into the sea,
and the storm stopped at once.
Now God had a big fish to swallow Jonah.
Jonah was inside the fish for 3 days and 3 nights.
When Jonah prayed to God,
God had the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach.

(77) Joash repairs the temple

After several kings in Judah.

Joash began to rule over Judah in 7th year of Jehu in Israel.
He was 7 years old when he became king.

Early part of his life, Joash did what was pleasing in God's sight.

And yet, he did not get rid of the idols,
and Israelites were still offering sacrifices to the idols.

Joash also had the priests to collect the money
to repair the temple.

So the priests collected the money and
paid expenses related to the temple's restoration.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

(76) An angel army

The king of Aram was at war with Israel.
They mobilized their army at several places.
Elisha then warned the king of Israel
not to go near the place for the Arameans are mobilizing
their army there.
The king of Aram became very angry.
He thought someone in his army had informed Israel
his secret plan.
and the king found out it was the prophet Elisha in Israel
who had warned the king of Israel.
Then the king of Aram commanded his troops
to go find Elisha and seize him.
The troops surrounded the city.
When the servant of Elisha woke up in the morning,
and saw the army around the city,
he cried out to Elisha,
"What do we do now?"
"Don't be afraid."
Elisha calmed the servant.
Elisha prayed to God to open the servant's eyes.
and When the servant looked up,
he saw the that the hillside around Elisha was filled with
army of fire.
Elisha also prayed,
"God, please, make the army of Aram blind"
and God did as Elisha asked.
Then Elisha led them to Samaria.
Instead of killng them all,
Elisha urged the king of Israel not to kill them and just send them home.
After that, the Aramean stayed away from the land of Israel.

(75) Elisha heals Naaman

There was a mighty warrior named Naaman.
He was suffering from leprosy.
One day his Israelite maid suggested Naaman
to go to see the prophet in Samaria
so he could be healed.
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots
and waited at the door of Elisha's house.
But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with the message:
"Go wash yourself 7 times in the Jordan river,
then you will be healed."
But Naaman became angry for he thought
Elisha would come out and meet him at least.
So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
But his officer urged Naaman to just do as Elisha had instructed.
So Naaman went down to the Jordan river and washed himself 7 times.
And his skin became clean,
he was healed.
"Now I know there is no God in all the world except in Israel!"

(74) Elijah taken into heaven

God was about to take Elijah up to heaven.
Elijah was traveling from Gilgal with his disciple, Elisha.
"Stay here, God told me to go to Bethel."
Elijah said to Elisha.
"No, I will never leave you!"
Elisha insisted.
So they went on together.
When they were in Bethel,
Elijah said to Elisha,
"Stay here, God told me to go to Jericho."
"No, I will never leave you!"
Elisha replied.
Sothey went on together.
When they were in Jericho,
Elijah said to Elisha,
"Stay here, God told me to go to the Jordan River."
"No, I will never leave you!"
So they went to together.
Elijah and Elisha stopped by the Jordan River.
Elijah folded his cloack together and
struck the water with it.
The river opened, and they went across on dry land.
Elijah asked Elisha if there was anything he could do for him
before he was taken away.
and Elisha replied,
"Let me be your successor, please"
As they were walking,
a chariot of fire appeared, and
Elijah was carried away into heaven.
Elisha then picked up Elijah's cloack and
returned to the Jordan river.
He struck the water, and the river opened as before.

Monday, July 21, 2014

(73) Baal vs God

after 2 years passed,
God instructed Elijah to go see Ahab
so Elijah went to appear before Ahab.
Ahab said to Elijah when he saw him,
"So it's you, Israel's troublemaker?"
Elijah replied,
"You and your family are the troublemakers,
you have turned your face away from God
and rejected God's law,
worshiping idols.
Now bring all the people of Israel to Mount Carmel,
with all the prophets of Baal and Asherah,
we will see the true God today."
Elijah ordered Baal's prophets to prepare the
bull and lay it on the wood on the altar, but not set fire to it.
Elijah did the same on the other altar.
Elijah said,
"The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!"
The prophets of Baal started shouting and mourning,
"O Baal, answer us!"
They shouted until the time of the evening,
but nothing happened.
Then Elijah said to the people,
"Pour the water over the wood, 3 times!"
"O God, prove today that you are God in Israel
and that I am your servant.
Answer me so that they know you are the true God."
Immediately the fire of God came down from heaven and
burned up the altar and everything else on it.
When they saw it,
they fell and cried out.
Elijah also prayed for rain,
and soon the sky turned black and rained.

(72) Elijah fed by ravens

Ahab became a new king in Israel.
but Ahab did evil in God's sight,
far worse than any of the kings before him.
Ahab even married foreign woman Jezebel.
Now Elijah told Ahab,
"There will be no rain nor rain during the next few years
unless God gives the word through me."
Then God said to Elijah to go hide by the brook
at a place east of where it enters the Jordan river.
Elijah did what God commanded him to do.
God commanded ravens to bring Elijah
bread and meat each morning and night.
but after while the brook dried up
 because there was no rainfall.
Then God told Elijah to go live in the village of Zarephath.

(71) The kingdom divides into north & south

For Solomon has abandoned God and worshiped foreign idols,
God tore the kingdom from the hand of Solomon.
God gave 10 of the tribes to Jeroboam(Isreal),
and left 1 tribe for the sake of David(Judah).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

(70) Solomon worships idols

Now Solomon loved many foreign women.
God had clearly instructed Israelites not to intermarry
with those nations, because
the women they married would lead them
to worship their idols.
and yet, Solomon insisted on loving them regardless.
In Solomon's old age,
those women turned his heart to worship their idols.
Solomon even built shrines for all his wives' idols
for sacrficing to their idols.
Solomon worshiped so many others gods.
God was very angry with Solomon.
God decides to tear Solomon's kingdom away from him
and give it to his servants.
However, God also remembered David
so God waited until Solomon passes away.

(69) Solomon builds the temple

God gave Solomon peace on every side,
and allowed no enemies around the land.
Solomen then remembered what his fatehr David
could not start; building a temple.
God had ordered David to not build a temple.
Solomon planned to build a temple
to honor the name of God,
just as his father David instructed.
The temple that king Solomon built for God was
90 feet long,
30 feet wide,
and 45 feet high.
Then God gave this message to Solomon,
"As for this temple you are building,
if you remember and obey all my commands and laws,
I will fulfill through you the promise
I made to your father David.
I dwell among the people of Israel,
and never forsake them."
It took 7 years to build the temple.

(68) Solomon judges wisely

2 women came to Solomon
to have their case settled.
One of them began,
"This woman and I, we live in the same house,
I  had a baby and she also had a baby.
One night, she rolled over her baby and her baby died,
but she took my baby while I was asleep,
and put her dead baby in my arms.
When I tried to nurse my baby in the morning,
he was dead, but when I looked closely,
I noticed it was not my baby!
but this woman keep insists that it's her baby."
"The living baby is mine!"
The other woman interrupted.
Then Solomon said,
"Since both of you claim
the living baby is yours,
let's just cut the baby in half
for both of you."
Then the woman who really was the
mother of the living baby cried out,
"No! my king, just give her the baby,
do not kill the baby."
But the other woman said,
"That's the only fair thing, my king."
That's when Solomon figured out
who was the real mother of the baby.
Solomon gave the baby to the woman
who wants him to live.
Solomon's decision regarding this very case
spread quickly throughout all Israel,
they were amazed at the great wisdom
God had given Solomon.