Category Archives: Old Testament

Hosea 4-9

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:1-3 NLT

When I first read these passages I thought that Israel was making a true change to return to the Lord. But, Israel wanted God to fix their problems, without turning from their wicked ways. Their repentance wasn’t genuine. They were more interested in the material benefits God could provide. Their hearts were not right before him and he knew it. When have I done the same thing?

I want to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 NLT

I want to heal Israel, but it’s sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars.” Hosea 7:1 NLT

God didn’t want their sacrifices or rituals, he wanted their hearts. What is the motive behind my worship?

What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me. They do not cry out with sincere hearts.” Hosea 7:13&14 NLT

Dear Father, Forgive me for when my heart is not right before you. Thank you for your patience with me. For not giving up on me. For your grace & mercy. Amen.

They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow.” Hosea 7:16 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Daniel 4:28-7:12 

When God steps in my life, I know what He wants to do. Do I try and deny, definitely, but deep down I know the truth. When people say they do not know why God does what He does, something goes against who God is with that statement. I think God tells people what He is going to do because He wants the honour that comes with the actions. Nebuchadnezzar was no different.

God met with King Nebuchadnezzar and called him on his pride – 7 years is what God knew it would take for him to repent and praise and honour God at the end. I have never been given a timetable, but God has always given me a reason for what I am going through. When people ask me if I would live my life the same way again, my answer is always – yes. It was that journey, His journey, that made me who I am today.

The secret in the hard times and the redemption, reconciliation or restoration that comes after those times was that God would be praised and receive all the honour as God. I have seen this first hand in my life. It is what makes me a little weird and passionate. Let’s face it, Nebuchadnezzar saw the miraculous hand of God more than any other king. While he might have acknowledged God each time, he does not give Him full honour and praise.

Consequences are not normally as extreme, but some people have thick heads. He lost the honour of his kingdom. He was deprived of his honour as a man. And the animal he turned into was not a royal one, but rather, like an ox, ate grass.

At the end of the seven years, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked to heaven. I was given my mind back and I blessed the High God, thanking and glorifying God, who lives forever:

“His sovereign rule lasts and lasts,
    his kingdom never declines and falls.
Life on this earth doesn’t add up to much,
    but God’s heavenly army keeps everything going.
No one can interrupt his work,
    no one can call his rule into question. – Daniel 4:34-35 MSG

Is this worth 7 years to wait for and then to spend eternity with God? For all those complaining as to what God has done in your life – I judge because so many have judged God without knowing Him. However, I need to love them back into the kingdom of God.

This is God’s goal in my life. It is why I was created, it is why Jesus came to save me – everything must serve God to His honour and praise.

What a difference between the path Pharaoh took from that of King Nebuchadnezzar. I love the choice of choosing Nebuchadnezzar’s path as wild as that might seem. I love how God restores his honour and when honoured, Nebuchadnezzar praised God for his honour. Beautiful.

Father, do what it takes to get my attention when I stray from honouring and praising You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ezekiel 48; Daniel 1:1-2:30

This is what I know when I meet Daniel–he was physically fit, attractive, teachable and capable, educated, and qualified. He was going to be treated (somewhat) like a king–at least with a measure of respect and dignity–eating food and drinking wine from the king’s table. And he was going to be taught the language and literature of the Babylonians.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel 1:3-8, NIV

And though he was enlisted to be part of the king’s service and immersed in the culture of the Babylonians, he drew a line he wouldn’t cross: he would not defile himself with the royal food and wine. I take special note of this.

I learn a lot about Daniel and his friends in these opening scriptures. And I see how God works in their lives.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

Daniel 1:17, NIV, emphasis mine

I also take special notice of what happens when Daniel is under extreme pressure. He’s on the cusp of execution because all the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers are unable to tell the king the content of his dream or its meaning.

14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.

Daniel 2:14, NIV

Daniel speaks with wisdom and tact.

He also takes the issue to the Lord in prayer and expectation.

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2:17-23, NIV

I think again on the quote, “Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.” Finding himself a captive of sorts, enlisted, and facing great stresses, I see the level of Daniel’s training–a foundation of solid boundaries, discipline, faith, and humility.

Lord, these days I find myself leaning more and more into you. I’m thankful for a reading today that highlights your presence and provision. And I’m also grateful for a reminder of my own personal responsibility to stick to boundaries and maintain a focus.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 32:1-34:24 

My dad would not really share the good news of the gospel with others in order for them to repent and begin to follow Jesus. No, he told them about hell and scared them into making that decision. I cannot say it was effective, and am reminded of him when I read the results of shame and the demise of entire people groups going to hell for not acknowledging God.

God, the Master, says:

I’m going to throw my net over you
    —many nations will get in on this operation—
    and haul you out with my dragnet. – Ezekiel 32:3 MSG

I notice that this net is not going to miss anyone. There will be a lot of people in this net. Those who thought they were somebody are going to be ashamed and filled with shame.

Pharaoh will see them all and, pompous old goat that he is, take comfort in the company he’ll keep—Pharaoh and his slaughtered army. Decree of God, the Master. – Ezekiel 32:31 MSG

This really gets me thinking. Pharaoh is now with the Persians, people of the north, Sidonians and Egyptians in hell, and he does not seem to have the same shame as the others. In fact, he will see everyone and – take comfort in the company he’ll keep. Seriously, there is comfort knowing that you are not the only one to suffer such shame and disgrace in judgment – I never would have figured it to be so. I have to assume Satan feels the same way.

What a picture of the destruction of nations describing what happens when I do not acknowledge God and do not repent when I do. Shame is the ultimate outcome.

I cannot end here. I have to bring Israel back into the picture – where do they land in all of this? Before they find themselves in hell as well, God commands them to be ashamed, while they are living. Here in Ezekiel 36:16-32 is the dialogue they hear from God. Their humility comes from knowing and from learning the outcomes from the punishment they have received and now the way is open for reconciliation with God. God has a definite view of honour and shame and I grasp that and I am sure the people of Israel grasped that as well. If I want a relationship with God, transparency in acknowledging shame is a good thing. It is in the offering of my shame to God that I am set free – truth sets me free. God then completes the reconciliation and the restoration and my status goes from shame to honourable shame as it becomes a part of my testimony to my relationship and journey with Him.

Father, I have to admit my shame to You and submit my pride to You. I do not want You to be only an addition to my life, I want to be a submission to You. Challenge me today, everyday, to be the man You have called and visioned me to be. Let not Your Holy Spirit leave me alone.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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Ezekiel 20:18-22:12

As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshiping idols. For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them.” Ezekiel 20:39&40 NLT

I was listening to a podcast where the man was talking about how the church he was pastoring at turned into his identity. When God called him to leave it, he didn’t know who he was anymore. Even this can become an idol. What idols do I need to strip away so Jesus is all I need?

When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as the nations watch. Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised with a solemn oath to give to your ancestors, you will know I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 20:41&42 NLT

When my heart is right before the Lord, I can humbly serve him. He will get the glory.

You will know that I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” Ezekiel 20:44 NLT

Thank you Father for your mercy. I desire a heart that serves you out of knowing that I am your daughter first. Than I am free to bless others with the gifts you have given me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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