Week 16: 1 Kings 1-11: Solomon

Oh Solomon, Solomon.

What a two-sided coin he was. One bright and glimmering, the other all scuffed up. And yet, the image on this coin is the Lord’s. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what is God’s. I’m sure we all have difficulties following through on that (on both counts!)

Solomon led Israel during its height of riches and expansion. He was considered the wisest man on earth. Arrayed in such glory that only the flowers of the earth seem to compare. A bright and shiny testimony for the Lord to the surrounding nations. Granted with the gift of wisdom, and yet he still fell headlong into folly.

If nothing else, it should demonstrate to us our utter dependency, not on our own wisdom or schemes, but on the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ.

Oh Solomon, Solomon.

Click on the picture of this week’s handouts covering 1 Kings 1-11, Solomon’s Life:

Queen of Sheba discovering the extent of Solomon's wisdom and riches

Queen of Sheba discovering the extent of Solomon’s wisdom and riches

Week 15: 2 Samuel and the Psalms

Though the collection of the Psalms span nearly 1,000 years, David is probably the most renown of the authors contributing to them. So we are placing them here chronologically beside 2 Samuel which gives account of David’s kingly life.

The Psalms are representative lyrics of the heart’s response to God in various situations–the ups and downs.

Interestingly, the prayers and songs of the people comprise the longest book in the Bible–150 chapters! When I compare that to my own prayer-life…I’m challenged…to get on my knees more often!

Click on the pic for a 2-page overview of the Psalm:

David, the Singer, Shepherd, King....put words to his heart cry for God. and God heard. May we do likewise!

David, the Singer, Shepherd, King….put words to his heart cry for God. and God heard. May we do likewise!

 

Week 14: 1 & 2 Samuel: David

Last week we looked at how all the onesies and twosie books lined up (ie., 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles).

This week we will zoom in on the life of David, the first king over unified and expanded Israel.

David really is a good example of what it is to be viewed through “grace-colored-glasses.” The atrocities he committed are heinous and naturally speaking, unforgivable. I guess that’s why grace is so scandalous…justice often seems hard to see.

But that is what makes Christ so unique…He deals with our sin issue. He has meted out the justice on Himself.  And He works in us a change that makes us more like Him and less like our natural self!

So this week is a race through David’s life covering First and Second Samuel. Click on the pic below to get the readings and a two page handout:

David was a Shepherd, Singer, Song-writer and King. He also was an adulterer, murdered and liar. But God brought him back to Himself...."and on His shoulders laid me." He knew what it was to have God be his kindly shepherd!

David was a Shepherd, Singer, Song-writer and King. He also was an adulterer, murderer and liar. But God brought him back to Himself….”and on His shoulders laid him.” He knew what it was to have God be his kindly shepherd!

Week 13: 1 Samuel 1-15: Saul

This week we are introduced to the puzzling Saul. In one scene he looks the good guy and in the next, we are left scratching our heads trying to figure out what in the world he was thinking.

And so it is with me. I’m sure I have that same effect on others!

Last week we covered 300-400 years of the loose confederation of regions during the time of the Judges.

This week will begin the transition to the more centralized monarchy. It’s hard to call Saul the first bona fide king, but alas! That is what he is called…a king. And so we are introduced

Attached is the 2 page handout that provides this week’s readings (1 Samuel 1-15) as well as an overview of how 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles line up:

Saul angry with young David and in a fit of rage tossing a spear in his direction

Saul angry with young David and in a fit of rage tossing a spear in his direction

Week 12: Judges & Ruth

The book of Ruth has no miracles, while the book of Judges had gobs!

The book of Ruth has no villains, while the book of Judges are replete with them.

The book of Ruth is life as usual for a few individuals, while the book of Judges is the roller coaster ride of tribes and nations.

Chaos and confusion in one, and hesed* and love in the other.

But there are many lessons to be learned about ourselves, humanity and God in both of them.

Click on the picture to get a three-page handout of the books.

Not a picture of Bethlehem, but it does display the beauty, fruitfulness and peacefulness of the book of Ruth!

Not a picture of Bethlehem, but it does display the beauty, fruitfulness and peacefulness of the book of Ruth!

*Finding the exact English equivalent is difficult, but the book of Ruth fully displays it! Lovingkindness, mercy, love, loyalty, goodness, favor, grace, etc.

Week 11: Joshua the Overcomer

The book of Joshua begins the part of the Old Testament referred to as the Historical Books (Joshua – Esther).

It tells the account of the 12 tribes of Israel moving into the Promised Land.

It should depict for us today, not an edict to go in to foreign territories and occupy them, but rather, an example of how God will work victory in our lives by conquering bad habits, poor decisions, selfishness and other flaws that need overcoming.

Anytime you read of the ruthlessness of the Israelites towards their enemies, translate that to our own personal lives. What in my life do I need to deal ruthlessly with? What sin needs an absolute slaughtering in my life? Do we want to coexist with bad habits, or totally eradicate them?

If you answer the latter, the book of Joshua gives us many principles God will use in making us overcomers of the corruption in our own lives.

Click on the picture below to see this week’s 3-page overview of the first historical book…Joshua:

Joshua and the Israelites marching around the walls of Jericho

Joshua and the Israelites marching around the walls of Jericho

Week 10: Deuteronomy: Moses’ Last Days

Today we are closing out the Torah by looking at the Book of Deuteronomy or Second Law
(which is really just the first law, repeated and further explained for the nomadic Israelites who are getting ready to be land owners!).

This is also where we bid Moses farewell and gladly see the noble, courageous, faithful new leader given the baton of leadership…Joshua, or Yeshua.

Click on the pic to see this week’s readings as well as a three-page overview:

Moses blowing the horn

Moses’ Last Days…he rallys the tribes together to sing his last song, extolling the Rock

Week 9: Wanderings in Numbers

Numbers gets its title because in chapters 1 and 26 we find the men of Israel numbered. But that is not the main theme of the book.

In the midst of wilderness wanderings and numberless murmurings, God can be seen amply supplying their every need.

The lesson presented in this book still needs to be learned today…the importance of faith, courage and trust in the Lord!

  • To see a chart that attempts to summarize Numbers,
  • a map that charts their journeys, and
  • a graphic that maps out the tribes camping arrangement,
  • click on the picture below:
Balaam and the donkey

The prophet Balaam being thwarted by a donkey (and an angel) from prophesying against God’s purpose with the Israelites.

Week 8: Exodus – Deuteronomy: The Law

Often times this is when people get bogged down in their efforts to read the Bible straight through…all the statutes, edicts, law, commandments, judgments, etc of Torah, particularly Leviticus, can feel a bit overwhelming, and truthfully, a bit archaic!  While reading the few samples provided in our selections this week, try not to get too befuddled with the particulars, but recognize it is Yahweh attempting to make His chosen people who were to serve others, distinct, different, just, holy, and healthy.

I’m sure you will be surprised to find yourself recognizing some of the passages you read. The New Testament quotes from the book of Leviticus very often. That serves as the best commentary in understanding more fully this detailed book, as well as the rest of the Torah and Old Testament.

By clicking on the picture below you will see a 4-page handout that hopefully will shed a little light on the law…

Depiction of a scroll containing Torah written in Hebrew

Depiction of a scroll containing Torah written in Hebrew

Week 7: Exodus 15-40 Mt. Sinai

Genesis began as a family. Exodus opened with that family becoming a nation. Exodus concludes with that nation becoming the chosen vessel of God to share His blessings with the world. This is where the Top Ten comes in!

But, um, there were a few hiccups along the way. Exodus 15-Numbers 10 has the Israelites camped out at the base of Mt. Sinai for about a year, and God wants to camp with them. So first things first, they construct Him a portable tent which will serve as a place of fellowship, or trysting place, during their sojourn.

Click on the picture below to get a 3-page, real high-bird’s eye view of the last 25 chapters of Exodus:

Thunder and fire surrounding Mt. Sinai where God inscribed the 10 Commandments on the tablets for Moses and the Israelites.

Thunder and fire surrounding Mt. Sinai where God inscribed the 10 Commandments on the tablets for Moses and the Israelites.