Showing posts from February, 2016

Is there a connection between Poverty, War and Prophecy?

So much change, and nothing changes--isn't that what they say? And the world of the Old Testament seems not so different from our own world after all. The prophesies might equally apply to our own rulers, wars and peoples, rich and our poor. And the condemnation? Perhaps we'd rather just consign it to history, ignore it as someone else's problem, or put our trust in politics. Our Bible Study group will finish Micah this week and maybe venture back to Isaiah. But more importantly, we'll look at at poverty, war and prophecy--history, threat and promise--and wonder where it leads? (18) Poverty, War, and Prophets Micah preached in the Southern part of Judah, well away from the troubles of Israel/Samaria/Ephraim. But Israel was still God’s people, and the nations threatening Israel were threatening Judah too. History: Tiglath Pileser of Assyria was attacking Syria, Judah and the coastal nations. Israel wants Judah to join an alliance against Assyria, but Judah refu

Not Isaiah this time

I'm really enjoying see how the prophets fit into the history of what was happening at the time - which prophet spoke at the same time as which, who spoke in the same places... even which prophets said the same words. So, last week we looked at the beginning of Isaiah, and this week, instead of going through the rest of Isaiah, we're jumping across to Micah who spoke in the countryside while Isaiah preached in town. Enjoy! (17) Oded and Micah: two more prophets in Judah Uzziah reigned in Judah, obeyed the Lord, then tried to combine the positions of priest and king, earning God’s disapproval. He ended his days co-reigning while isolated with leprosy. Uzziah’s son Jothan ruled next, followed by grandson Ahaz, the one who asked for Assyria’s aid against Syria and Israel, when Isaiah told him to trust God. Ahaz ends up so deeply subject to Assyria he even copies their altars in God’s Temple. Then came Hezekiah and revival. Chronicles expands a bit on the relationship be

Syria, Israel, and Biblical History

It seems the media keeps telling us about wars, violence, terrorists, rebels and more. Maybe history repeats itself, or maybe we're just condemned to repeat history because we live in a fallen world. It's interesting to look at historical events through Biblical eyes. And it's interesting to look at Biblical prophecy through historical eyes. So now our Bible Study Group gets to look at Syria and Israel, while rediscovering words very familiar to modern-day Christians. (16) When Syria and Israel attack Syria are the bad guys, foreigners, followers of foreign gods. Israel are the sometimes good, sometimes bad guys. They don’t quite belong to “our church,” but they’re the kind of people that Judah sometimes loves, sometimes hates. Assyria is a rising force who recently demanded tribute from the king of Israel ( Read 2 Kings 15:19-20 ). At this point, King Uzziah of Judah has finally died after years as a leper. His son has reigned and died. And now his grandson Ahaz i

Introduction to Isaiah

We looked at Amos. We looked at Hosea. We made our plans to study the minor prophets (plus a bit of history). And here we are reading a... well... a fairly major prophet after all. But he was speaking at the same time as Hosea, so we really ought to look at what he said. While Hosea spoke to Israel, another famous prophet was speaking in Judah. Both countries were inclined to form alliances. Both were going to fall. And God gave warnings to both. It’s easy to fit Isaiah into the timeline, because he tells us precisely when he was called. Read Isaiah 1:1. Uzziah and Jotham were co-regents of Judah from 750 to 740BC. Ahaz was king from around 730 to 715BC. The next king, Hezekiah, saw Israel fall to Assyria under Sargon (720BC), and ruled during Assyria’s siege of Jerusalem under Sennacherib (700BC). Hezekiah brought the people back to faith in God, and restored their prosperity. The call of Isaiah 1.        Read Isaiah 6:1-3. Did you know the word seraphim comes from a Hebr

Is There Safety In Allying With Powerful Nations?

This week we'll reach the end of our trip through Hosea. I'm not even sure what happens next in the Bible Study series, but I'm looking forward to preparing next week's entry. Meanwhile, here's a man in a historical world, living in a land once famed for luxury and power. His great nation now faces threats from enemies it once imagined were weak. Leaders vie for the right to decide where the best alliances lie. Sound familiar? (14) Hosea’s Lament Some history to start with: Read Hosea 7:7. Do you remember what happened to Israel’s kings? When do you think Hosea was writing this – before or after the kings fell? Read 2 Kings 15:29-30, 17:4, Hosea 5:13, 14:3. Hoshea led a pro-Assyrian rebellion, but switched his allegiance to Egypt after the death of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser (727BC). Read Hosea 7:11,16. Hosea warns this alliance won’t help either. The Assyrian king Shalmaneser V attacks, imprisons Hoshea ( 2 Kings 17:3-4, 18:9) , and begins the