Zechariah

Zechariah

Some Tips on How To Read the Book of Zechariah The story so far… After the pagan king allowed the exiles to return home (538BC), some chose to return but many stayed. Those who returned went back to devastation- temple and land plundered and leaders carried off. The challenge to rebuild was a tall task and they began immediately (Book of Ezra) but only as far the foundation. Haggai was his contemporary and they both had the same goal –the restoration of the people of God beginning with the rebuilding of the Temple. Day 1: chp 1:1-6 What is the core message from God?   In the days ahead, as you read, sketch out the visions described. Give your picture a title that describes its meaning. You can decide your own pace how much to read. Part 1 Chp 1:7-17 (1st Vision) chp 1:18-21 (2nd Vision) chp 2:1-13 (3rd Vision) chp 3 (4th Vision) chp 4 (5th Vision) chp 5:1-4 (6th Vision) chp 5:5-11 (7th Vision) chp 6:1-8 (8th Vision) chp 6:9-15 (the Sign) Part 2 chp 7 (Religious acts empty of meaning) chp 8 (Acts that pleases God) Part 3 chp 9 (Judgment & Triumph) chp 10 (Restoration) chp 11 (Good and bad shepherds) chp 12 (Deliverance & Mourning) chp 13 (Purification at great cost) chp 14 (Day of the Lord and His Reign)   Reflection The images given in this book are grotesque and stark. It evokes puzzlement and stirs up emotions especially the last few chapters on how it will all end. As Zechariah challenges the people to a difficult task yet it zooms out to...
Numbers

Numbers

Some Tips on How To Read the Book of Numbers A month after the Israelites left Egypt, almost like a new beginning a census was ordered by God. This book traces their 39 years of wilderness experience from Sinai to eastern side of Jordan. Restart Day 1:  chp 1-2 (Organisation) Day 2:  chp 3-4 (Levites & their duties) Day 3:  chp 5-6 (Cleansing & blessing) Day 4: chp 7 (Gifts from the people) Day 5: chp 8 (Levites consecrated) Day 6: chp 9:1-14 (Passover celebrated) Day 7: chp 9:15-10:36 (Movements)   Trouble in Camp (Sinai-Kadesh) Day 8: chp 11 (Hardships & complaints) Day 9: chp 12 (Jealousy & Criticism) Day 10: chp 13-14 (Distrust and Judgment) Day 11: chp 15 (Regulations and remembrance) Day 12: chp 16 (Rebellion in camp) Day 13: chp 17-18 (Priesthood established) Day 14: chp 19 (Purification rites)   Journey continues (Kadesh-Plains of Moab) Day 15: chp 20 (Water & Passage row & Judgment on Moses & Aaron) Day 16: chp 21 (Victories & Judgment; Bronze Snake) Day 17: chp 22-24 (Balaam’s oracle) Day 18: chp 25 (Idolatry at camp & Phinenas’ intervention)   Restarting again (Plains of Moab-East of Jordan) Day 19: chp 26 (Second census) Day 20: chp 27 (Inheritance; Zelophehad’s daughters & succession for Moses ) Day 21: chp 28-30 (Offerings, festivals & vows) Day 22: chp 31 (Vengeance against Midianites) Day 23: chp 32 (Settlement in East Jordan) Day 24: chp 33:1-49 (Wilderness route) Day 25: chp 33:50-34:29 (Instructions when occupying Canaan) Day 26: chp 35 (Cities of refuge) Day 27: chp 36 (Inheritance laws confirmed)   Reflection The book of...
James

James

Some Tips on How To Read the Book of James Day 1:    Read 1:1 Think about: Who is James? What did he call himself? Who is the letter addressed to? Day 2: Reread 1:1 and imagine what kind of situations the people scattered all over the world are in. Now Read 1:2-18. What kind of situations are the believers facing? (Recommended to write your answer down as the next few days you will add on to this) Day 3: Read 1:19-27 What would you title this passage? Recall what situations the believers were facing (question from Day 2). What insight does this add to the situation they are facing? Day 4: Read 2:1-13 Think about your church service and who attends it. What thoughts do we have about others who walk in for service (from their appearance and behavior)? What kind of situation are the believers facing? (Add on to the previous days’ answers) What does this passage call us to do? Day 5: Read 2:14-26 How does this passage help us to piece together the situation in the church (among the believers)? Day 6: Right after reading 3:1-12, what is the first word/phrase that comes to your mind, say it aloud. We are seeing more of what is possibly happening in the church that James wrote to address it. Add on your discovery to what situations the believers are facing in the church. Day 7: Read 3:13-18 What is true wisdom and what is not? How are the believers behaving? (Add on to your answers about the situation in the church) Day 8: Read 4:1-6 How are...
Lamentations

Lamentations

Some Tips on How To Read the Book of Lamentations Destruction and devastation These are 2 words to describe Jerusalem when you read through the book of Lamentations. In the writing, Jerusalem is personified as a woman who was once known as a queen. Many of us might not fully grasp the full feeling of the people of God for most of us have not gone through wars that destruct our nation. Jerusalem was taken captive by the Babylonian. The city was destroyed, the temple has broken down, some faced death. Nothing else was left and some hopes for God were nearly dead. In this setting, Lamentations was written. As we examine the writing of Lamentations, it’s amazing to see the highly structured and emotionally powerful poems that lament the destruction of Jerusalem. All the chapters were written acrostics based on the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet except Chapter 5 not in acrostics arrangement. The writer has skillfully expressed the feeling to give us the entry point to their experience. As we read Lamentations, remember that this book is written as a poem, expressing the emotion of the people of God during the exile period. Capture the feeling. We can read this book in one sitting, picking out the feeling of the people of God. When we done it, take a second reading and at this reading, capture the God of exile highlighted by the writer. May we begin to feeling like to the people of Jerusalem and to see the God of the exile. It’s interesting how the writer end the book of Lamentations with questions to...
Malachi

Malachi

The people were living in an uneventful period where God seems to be far away or have forgotten His people. It was after the exile and the Israelites have finished rebuilding the temple and the wall, but the land they live in is still barren and life is hard. So the people continued their religious duties monotonously. The Messiah that had long been promised still didn’t turn up. As you begin, picture the situations the Israelites were in. Again, comb through the whole book first, and then as you re-read, ponder upon the questions below. Malachi 1:1-5 The Word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi whose name means ‘Messenger’. It begins with Israel questioning God’s love and God affirming them that ‘He had loved them’. But… Malachi 1:6 – 2:17 The Israelites have shown contempt for God’s name. As you read this portion, List down the things that the people and the priests did not showed contempt for God’s name. Think about ‘how will God’s name or honour would be at stake if the people and priest continue to do what they did. Malachi concluded by bringing Moses (the Law) and Elijah (the Prophets) into the picture. Why did he end it this way? If God says ‘I Love You’ If God says ‘I have loved you’, what will my response be? I asked myself how much do I really love God? The least I can do is to give Him the honour due His name. But the Israelites – the people and the priests, both the individual and community, showed disrespect to God by offering blemished animal...