Deuteronomy Chapters 4, 5, and 6

Today has been a great day already…God truly answers prayers (if they are in His will) and I am just so glad that my prayer has been answered! These three chapters do not have as much of a narrative as the other chapters have had so far, but that is because these three chapters focus on some of the most important documents (of stone)! The 10 Commandments will be covered and have their importance emphasized.

Moses tries to get the Israelites to focus on obedience for God is emphasizing these commandments for a reason. If they decide not to follow these commandments then the people might not make it into the promise land (Canaan). What has really been reiterated throughout the book of Deuteronomy, that you don’t read as much about in the other books is that the people are encouraged to continue to share information with their children (the history of their leave of Egypt with God, the promise land, the various covenants, etc.). When we get to Judges we will read about how the people at the time didn’t even know their whole history, or how God had lead them out of Egypt. Moses reminds the people of how they were forbidden to enter the Promised Land when they decided to worship a golden calf when Moses was receiving the first 10 Commandments on the mountain. Moses therefore emphasizes how idolatry needs to be avoided at all cost! God will show them wrath for their idolatry, but He will also show mercy when there is repentance present! God lists 3 cities that are going to be the places that people that accidentally murder someone can go for refuge (think of people given the manslaughter sentence in the USA). These cities are: Bezer in in the wilderness of the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead, and Golan in Bashan. This is a way that God shows mercy to His people. Moses then reads off the 10 Commandments. I will post the 10 Commandments on a separate post.

Once the 10 Commandments are laid out in chapter 5 there is continual emphasis on how amazing and glorifying it was when God gave these commandments to Moses and how He spoke through the fire and how God was the one to have the commandments written into the stone. The people are told how these commandments are the way of the LORD and they must be followed in order to stay on the right path (5:33).

Chapter 6 focuses on the greatest commandment of all! The greatest commandment is that they all must love God with all their heart, all their soul, and to teach these commandments and lessons to their children! God wants these commandments ingrained everywhere but most importantly written into their children’s hearts. Children are always emphasized throughout the Bible for they are the key to growing generations of faith, and God wants His people to know this from the beginning.

Deuteronomy Chapters 1, 2, and 3

Now it is time to dive into the book of Deuteronomy! It will definitely have more posts than the book of Joel, and definitely filled with a lot of information. The book is said to be written by Moses and follows the Israelites through the wilderness, getting the commandments, and all of the (I guess you could say) politics into getting into the land of Canaan aka the promise land.

Chapter 1 tells of how God says that the Israelites can now leave Horeb and head to the promise land after their 40 years in the wilderness. Now this book like many other books of the Bible will be jumping around on the timeline, but for now that is where we are. Leaders and judges were chosen by each tribe to help lessen the entire burden that Moses had to face by being the only leader. There is now thousands of them and Moses was the only one listening to their problems and complaints –it was definitely not proactive. The Amorites were in control of the land that the Israelites were deemed to have and they had too much fear to enter the land, in spite of God saying that they could and should. The Israelites did not trust God’s words and because of their rebellion God said that the Israelites who were there, their generations would never enter their promised land. Back to the wilderness they went!

God sends the Israelites around Mount Seir (the land of Esau) and God told the people that they should not try to take away the land or anything for God had given this land to Esau. If they tried to take away land from the people of Esau then they would lose. Following Seir, the Israelites headed to the land of the Moabites, where God said once again that they should not try to take away land or cause battles for God would hand the victory to the Moabites. 38 years had passed (time flew from the beginning of this post to now) and the men of war (the generation that would not be allowed to enter the promised land) were now dead. God then promises that the Israelites will defeat the Amorite king, King Sihon, king of Heshbon. Moses sent word to King Sihon and said that the Israelites were going to enter but not cause any trouble, but the king would not let them pass. Moses writes:

But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.” Deuteronomy 2:30.

I like how all the hatred and meanness of the king is attributed to God, because God will always keep His word, and if He said that the Israelites would defeat this king in battle then there had to be a reason for a battle to exist. At the battle of Jahaz the Israelites faced the king and his troops and the Israelites won (as God had promised).

The Israelites would then defeat another strong king, this time being King Og of Bashan. God promised once again that this king and his people and his land would belong to the Israelites. The Israelites took over all 60 cities that were part of Argob. These new territories were split amongst the various tribes, other than the Levites. All the men of these tribes, in spite of having this new land and territory would still have to enter the promise land and then would be able to return to these territories. God wanted the men to enter the land He had promised in a covenant and was determined to have them all enter! What I find interesting was that God refused to allow Moses to enter the promise land, because of how the Israelites were continuously rebellious and wouldn’t listen to the words of the LORD. God allowed Moses to go on top of Pisgah to look down and around towards the land, but he would never be allowed to enter this land. God still was going to work through Moses by having Moses prepare Joshua for the promise land and get him prepared for his leadership role that he was to take. The Israelites resided in the valley opposite Beth-peor for the time being. There are so many locations and destinations – I hope the map I posted previously was helpful in some way!

Map of Canaan during the time of the book of Deuteronomy!

deuteronomy_canaan_before_joshua

I don’t believe that I have said which book I was going to write on next….while it is Deuteronomy! We are going way way back in time from the time of Joel! It is so vital to understand the happenings of the Israelites in those years after 40 years in the wilderness and entering Canaan and it is especially important to understand the 10 Commandments which are listed in this book! It is hard for us to imagine the land of Canaan at this time because of how we are just use to it being Israel or Judah – so I will be looking at this map often when reading through the book of Deuteronomy and I hope it is useful to all!

http://www.bible-history.com/maps/books.php

Joel Chapters 1, 2, and 3 (FINALE already)

The book of Joel will be done in this one post because of it only consisting of 3 chapters! There is some great insight of course included in these few chapters! The book is all prophetic so there is definitely a lack of narrative but it is still very interesting and I have been looking forward to blogging about it! Here is some back up information about the location and time that Joel was writing this book: Joel was the son of Pethuel (I don’t know who that is, but majority of people mentioned always tell of their parents names and for women their husbands are mentioned). Intellectuals believed that Joel lived in Judah because of his focus always being on Judah and Jerusalem throughout the prophecies, and he was also alive during the reign of Uzziah, which is around 800 BC and was a prophet around the same time of Amos and Isaiah. So we are about 300 years before Jeremiah and the success of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) in this book, but of course there are similar themes in the prophecies in the book of Jeremiah and the prophecies in the book of Joel.

At the time that Joel was writing these prophecies or the prophecy that he first has written down occurred when Judah was going through a time of drought and locust (YUCK – so many grasshoppers). The prophecy encourages the people to share their history with their generations like God had told them to do before they even entered the promise land – but this seems to have been forgotten or ignored by His people. His people needed repentance, just like repentance was needed 300 years during the time of Jeremiah, but the people refused to do so! Joel isn’t only speaking to the people of Judah but even more specifically the priests and ministers. The drought and locust are already so bad but it could easily get worse and Joel writes:

To you, O LORD, I call. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flame has burned all the trees of the field. Even the beasts of the field pant for you because the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” Joel 1:19-20.

Doesn’t that just all sound so terrible? That is why Joel says that all must lament in order for God to bless them and take away such miserable conditions.

Chapter 2 is all about the Day of the LORD coming and how no one is capable of withstanding God’s army or even just God alone. Joel uses such great imagery in this chapter to express the strength and power that God and His army has and how they will easily scale walls and how the earth trembles under their strength and power. If people return the LORD however, then they would not face this army for God has a heart and love for His people that allow Him to feel merciful and show His people pity. God wants their hearts for real this time, not just their false actions (think of people that just go to church every week but don’t put their hearts 100% into it). One of my favorite things about my reference Bible is that I love to see how verses are quotes are referred to in the New Testament from the Old Testament because it shows how the prophecies are accurate and how Jesus was coming to save His people. Joel 2:32 is referenced to in Acts 2:39 by Peter during his sermon on Pentecost. God’s people will survive for they call on the LORD.

Chapter 3 comes quickly but is also the end of the book of Joel. It gives an explanation as to why God is going to pass judgment on the various nations. God wants to protect His people and He will make sure they are protected by getting rid of the wicked nations that are after His people (think of how Babylon is eventually brought to an end, and how Egypt went through some very rough times after they took over the Israelites). God’s enemies will always fail and that is what these judgments show! All that obey God and show Him love face such greatness; God told Joel:

’And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and water the Valley of Shittim.’” Joel 3:18.

Prosperity will always return to His people with the ultimate prosperity being of course giving His Son for His people’s sins along with all other’s sins that honor and love Him and His Son. Egypt and Edom are mentioned specifically as becoming desolate over time (similar to the book of Jeremiah), because of their violence against God’s people; Israel and Judah will be inhabited forever!

Map During the time of Joel

Map of Judah during Joel

The Book of Joel is from around the time 800 B.C. and during the reign of Uzziah! Above is a map of Judah at this time, for Joel lived in Judah! This is about 300 years before the exile and the strength of Nebuchadnezzar, so you can see the differences in the maps from Jeremiah in my previous post to this post now! I am attaching the link to the cite I used again for finding map! http://www.bible-history.com/maps/books.php

Jeremiah Chapters 50, 51, and 52 (FINALE)

Game changer! I decided to make my last two posts into one because I just don’t like to blog about only one chapter so why not just go ahead and write about the last three chapters! Chapters 50 and 51 are still the words of Jeremiah sent from the LORD while chapter 52 is kind of like a recap of what was happening during Jeremiah’s life, similar to the style of 1 Kings and 2 Kings. I don’t know who wrote chapter 52 or how it came about, but at the end of chapter 51 it clearly says, “Thus far are the words of Jeremiah,” so clearly there is a cut off of Jeremiah’s words.

Chapters 50 and 51 are a lot of detail about the judgment and “the utter destruction” (as my Bible labels this chapter) of Babylon! Not surprisingly, Babylon will face utter destruction! A country from the North will conquer Babylon (think Persia) and bring down this nation that has caused destruction to Israel and Judah, even if God allowed them to do so as a form of punishment and wrath. Israel and Judah will come together when this judgment on Babylon occurs and God uses the popular concept of His people being (lost) sheep.

’My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, “We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the LORD, their habitation of righteousness, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.”’” Jeremiah 50:6.

God was and will always watch after His people, and it is evident later on in chapter 50 when He tells of the redeemer that is to come and give rest to His people and unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon (the unrighteous/unfaithful). I love when there is prophecy of Jesus and what is to come because it is amazing to see how full of truth God is!

Chapter 51 goes into detail of the destruction of Babylon, and how He has not forsaken His people. There is great detail of Babylon’s idolatry and their evil that was port toward Zion. I love this analogy that God uses when telling of Babylon’s destruction:

’They shall roar together like lions, they shall growl like lions’ cubs. While they are inflamed I will prepare them a feast and make them drunk, that they may become merry, then sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake, declares the LORD. I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and male goats.’” Jeremiah 51:38-40

Babylon will face such a harsh destruction for they think that they are living the live full of happiness and then while they are at rest, not even putting up a fight, they will be brought down. They are utterly helpless! At the end of chapter 51 and the words of Jeremiah it tells of how Jeremiah gives all of his words that were sent from God to Seraiah and to have him read the words to the Judeans when they are exiled in Babylon, and how Babylon will “sink, to rise no more.” And these are the last words of Jeremiah.

Chapter 52 is like a study summary of what happened with the fall of Jerusalem and such because the book goes into detail but not as thorough details for it is more of a book of prophecy. So to recount the fall of Jerusalem (I have blogged about this before in my last few posts of 2 Kings), Zedekiah was unrighteous in the eyes of the LORD and he eventually rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. When Jerusalem was besieged the city eventually reached such a terrible famine that they all had to flee. Zedekiah was then captured in the fields of Jericho and he was taken to Babylon where he was tortured and watched his entire family die. Zedekiah died in a prison in Babylon, and was of course not laid to rest with the rest of the kings. In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, after the fall of Jerusalem, the temple aka the house of the LORD was burnt down and all of the treasures of the temple were taken. All the hard work done by Solomon were ruined along with the wall of Jerusalem taken down. Seraiah and the other priests and officials that were taken to Babylon were put to death and the rest of the Judeans were exiled, other than the weak and the poor that were left behind as mentioned in a previous post. A total of approximately 4,600 Judeans were exiled to Babylon. To end, Jehoiachin, the heir to Judah who was unrighteous, was released from prison after many decades and was treated with honor in the court of Babylon, which is not ironic at all. OF COURSE an unrighteous supposed leader was to align himself with the evil idolaters of Babylon!

I hope you all have enjoyed the book of Jeremiah as much as I have and I am excited for the next book from the Old Testament that I will be covering (all in 1 post!) The next book is the book of Joel! All three chapters of the book will be covered in one post but it is still full of such great information!

Jeremiah Chapters 48 and 49

For these next posts when God is giving Jeremiah information about the various nations, I had to look up many of these regions/nations to try to understand what they were doing and where they were located! The map I posted yesterday aka my previous post shows most of the locations I will be writing about today! I am so thankful for the Bible Gateway app on my iPad for providing resources (like encyclopedias of biblical terms) to help me better understand certain locations. I know that I have read about how they were formed, but it has been a long LONG time since I have read that portion of the Old Testament! So if anyone has more information or if I misinterpreted the information I read on these regions, let me know! I am always happy to learn!

Chapter 48 focuses on the judgment of Moab and the Moabites. Moab according to the resources on Bible Gateway, is east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea and south of Ammon. The territory of the Moabites was formed from Lot’s eldest child, which was a product of incest with his daughter (I still find this narrative of Lot to be extremely disturbing). God tells in his judgment that Moab has yet to face adversity like Judah or Israel, until now that is of course, and they will now be put to shame. Their power will be taken! God is very adamant of this happening…This one verse was very intense and shows just how much God wanted them to be brought down for their unrighteousness:

’Make him drunk, because he magnified himself against the LORD, so that Moab shall wallow in his vomit, and he too shall be held in derision.’” Jeremiah 48:26.

I mean that’s a very passionate phrase in my book! Also the terms like “wail” and “cry” are constantly used because of the anger and also the grief that God feels for Moab; Moab will be restored however unlike Babylon!

Chapter 49 talks about many different nations, so I will give as short of a rundown as I can! The first judgment is on Ammon which is a nation formed from Lot’s incest with his other daughter (their child’s name was Ben-ammi). The Ammonites were a trans-Jordan group that was more mobile and aggressive than the Moabites. God will have them be destroyed but they will eventually be restored! Another group facing judgment is Edom. Edom consists of the descendants of Esau and lived in a mountainous terrain, and they will face such a harsh judgment! There is however no mention of restoration like the other nations, but at the same time there is no mention of eternal ruin either…it is just open ended. I would say based on the passion and anger God had towards them based on His judgment that they will not be restored! The city of Damascus (located northeast of Mount Hermon) is given a shorter judgment than the other but they will also be brought down in battle and there is no mention of restoration, so one assumes it will never be the same! Kedar and Hazor will also face judgment (I am not going to lie, I don’t know if I remember ever hearing about these places). Kedar is a north Arabian tribe and Hazor is northern Palestine and the largest city at the time. Both had already been taken over by Nebuchadnezzar and God makes it very clear that no one will ever reside in Hazor again! The last judgment for this chapter (and post) is a judgment on Elam. Elam is a southern area of the now Iranian peninsula. God actually spoke about Elam to Jeremiah during the beginning of Zedekiah’ reign. God has anger towards them and they will be brought down, however they will be restored! I am sure there is a reason why some are struck down and restored while others aren’t restored, but I am unsure as to why! That will be something I will look into more as I continue to study the Old Testament still!

Only 2 more posts to go for the book of Jeremiah!

Map during the time of the Prophet Jeremiah

Map

Here is a map of Judah and the Chaldeans during the time of the prophet Jeremiah! I probably should have posted it sooner but it is what it is!  I am attaching the link of the cite I got this map from because you can pull up maps from any book of the Bible and it is awesome — especially if you wanted to use it when reading through Judges, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and 2 Chronicles!

http://www.bible-history.com/maps/books.php

Jeremiah Chapters 46 and 47

         We are coming to the end of Jeremiah within the next few posts! Now it is becoming more about the prophecies and about the specific nations (I don’t know if they would be labeled as nations at this point…history major coming out in me) that around the same area as Israel and Judah, so think Egypt, the Moabites, Babylon, etc. These two chapters focus on the judgments of Egypt and the Philistines.

God’s message about the nations begins with Egypt, whom had already been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and it focuses on Pharaoh Neco’s reign and his army. The Egyptians would be facing battles and destruction! God told Jeremiah,

’The swift cannot flee away, nor the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen.’” Jeremiah 46:6.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, God always refers to those not following Him as “stumbling” because they are not able to stay in a straight path or walk justly in their life without Him, and they have rejected Him. The Egyptians at this point think that they will still succeed and conquer all, but God will make their stumbling noticeable. God is handing over Egypt to Babylon and they will be exiled to the North, but Egypt will eventually be refilled with its inhabitants, and of course Judah will eventually be refilled as well!

Chapter 47 is short and gets to the point easily about the Philistines. Jeremiah was told this part from God before Pharaoh had struck down Gaza. These chapters are more difficult for me because it is hard for me to keep track of the changing boundaries during this time! I will post a map that will hopefully help me better understand and maybe help others as well. Anyway the Philistines will be captured and defeated by nations of the North (Babylon probably). Their destruction is a result of their inability to follow God and their lack of desire in general about not following God!

These chapters will be a lot shorter than my most recent posts because it is chapters full of very specific details of geography with a general overall message that I would rather bring out than to focus on the details because I am not totally educated on these details and I rather not say something that is completely inaccurate!