God's love

God is proud of us.

God is proud of us.

Job 1

Much has been written and said of Job, the friend of God who underwent immense personal suffering. The book that bears his name begins with a description of what could arguably be considered the worst day a person could have—Job loses all his wealth and all his children in the same day.

But here’s the thing that startled me the first time it dawned on me: God was the one who pointed out Job to Satan. Did you catch that?

God is for us.

God is for us.

Esther 9

I wonder about the King of Persia. He was king of a heathen land, with a large number of Jewish exiles living in his territory. I’m not sure what gods (or how many) he worshiped, but it’s safe to say that he did not worship the God of Israel. Yet, when the plot of Haman was uncovered, he was willing to stick his neck out for this race of people who were foreigners in his land:

God woos us.

God woos us.

Esther 8

I thought this chapter of Esther ended on a very interesting note: "After the law was announced in Susa, everyone shouted and cheered, and the Jews were no longer afraid. In fact, they were very happy and felt that they had won a victory. In every province and city where the law was sent, the Jews had parties and celebrated. Many of the people in the provinces accepted the Jewish religion, because they were now afraid of the Jews." (vs 15-17)

God makes personal sacrifices.

God makes personal sacrifices.

Nehemiah 11

Once the temple and the walls had been rebuilt, Jerusalem was in need of a population. But it seems like there weren’t too many people eager to live there. The beginning of chapter 11 tells us how the city was settled: "Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem." (vs 1-2)

God gets His hands dirty.

God gets His hands dirty.

Nehemiah 2

This chapter, for me, held another stunning example of what God is like, as observed in the actions of His ambassador Nehemiah. After hearing about the state of things in Jerusalem, Nehemiah had prayed to God that restoration would come to that great Israelite city. He determined that, at some time, he would have the opportunity to speak to the king about what was on his heart.

God's position doesn't isolate Him.

God's position doesn't isolate Him.

Nehemiah 1

When I was growing up, Bette Midler’s song From a Distance was popular on the radio. Perhaps you remember the last line of the chorus: God is watching us from a distance. I think this is how a lot of people see God—as some sort of distant, unengaged Deity who doesn’t really care about the day-to-day lives of His creatures. He may be up there, and He may be running things, but He certainly doesn’t have time for the "little people."

God's protection isn't universal.

God's protection isn't universal.

Ezra 9

In this chapter of Ezra, we encounter an idea that weaves its way throughout the Old Testament: "Blessings" for those who obey the Lord, and "punishment" for those who do not. In this case, Ezra is lamenting the discovery of further disobedience by the exiles. "I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today." (vs 6-7)

God has a reputation.

God has a reputation.

Ezra 8

Have you ever given much thought to God’s reputation? I guess if you asked ten different people what they thought of God, you would probably get ten different answers. But the fact that there are so many atheists in the world might suggest that, with some, God’s reputation isn’t a very good one. Many would rather believe that there is no God as opposed to believing in the kind of God they’ve been introduced to by some Christians. Makes me think of that bumper sticker I see from time to time: Please, Lord, save me from your followers!

God's love is the foundation of His government.

God's love is the foundation of His government.

Ezra 3

This was a short and sweet chapter, so I thought a short and sweet blog would be in order. Did you catch these verses? "When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: 'He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.' And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." (vs 10-11)

God humbles us.

God humbles us.

2 Chronicles 33

It’s kind of hard to believe that—after seeing such a wonderful example of a king in his father, Hezekiah—Manasseh could be so wicked. He virtually reversed every good thing his father had done during his reign. However, maybe that’s what happens when a twelve-year-old becomes a king! Can you imagine putting a teenager in charge of a country? Mercy!

God puts His heart into His work.

God puts His heart into His work.

2 Chronicles 31

Today’s blog will center around the last verse of this chapter: "In everything that [Hezekiah] undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered." (vs 21) This is the key to prosperity and success in God’s universe—working for God with your whole heart, no matter what you do. This is what God does.

God's love is not passive.

God's love is not passive.

2 Chronicles 28

In this chapter, there is a wonderful example of God’s principle of returning good for evil, inspired by leaders of Ephraim who urged the people of Israel to release the captives from Judah they had defeated in battle: "'You must not bring those prisoners here,' they said, 'or we will be guilty before the Lord. Do you intend to add to our sin and guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger rests on Israel.' So the soldiers gave up the prisoners and plunder in the presence of the officials and all the assembly. The men designated by name took the prisoners, and from the plunder they clothed all who were naked. They provided them with clothes and sandals, food and drink, and healing balm. All those who were weak they put on donkeys. So they took them back to their fellow Israelites at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria." (vs 13-15)

God wants to be wanted.

God wants to be wanted.

2 Chronicles 15

In some ways, I wanted to title this blog God is not a stalker. But, I guess I do believe that God is a stalker—in the sense that He will pursue us, leaving no stone unturned in winning us back to Him. But, if we ultimately want to have nothing to do with Him, He will eventually leave us alone.I love it whenever I see plain talk in Scripture. And today, this is the message about God I found in 2 Chronicles 15: "The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, 'Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.'" (vs 1-2)

God sees and hears us.

God sees and hears us.

2 Chronicles 7

God sees you. God hears you. Have you ever found those things hard to believe? Has it ever felt like you were alone and abandoned instead? Like no matter how much you were hurting or how hard you were crying out, there was just nobody "up there" to listen to you? 2 Chronicles 7 would like you to know that those feelings aren’t reality.

God is the God of everyone.

God is the God of everyone.

2 Chronicles 4

Depending on which translation of the Bible you use, today’s chapter was about Hiram (aka Huram), the man who handcrafted all the objects in the temple of the Lord. From the altar to the basins to the sculptures to the lampstands and tables, Hiram put his stamp of handiwork on everything. What an incredible honor—to be chosen out of everyone in Israel for such a task! Hiram must have been the most skilled craftsman around.

God is beautiful on the inside.

God is beautiful on the inside.

2 Chronicles 3

All I saw in this chapter was gold, gold, gold. Gold on the floors, gold on the ceilings, gold on the walls. Gold, gold everywhere. It must have been something to walk into that dazzling temple, with every surface sparkling and shining. It must have been incredible to walk into the Most Holy Place (if you were the high priest) and see the wings of the sculptured cherubim spanning the room from wall to wall.

God doesn't destroy His enemies.

God doesn't destroy His enemies.

2 Chronicles 1

I think this is one of the neatest stories in the Bible. Solomon asks for what is most important—and ends up receiving everything that is most important as well as all the "perks." It always reminds me of what Jesus told His disciples: "But seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt 6:33)

God understands you.

God understands you.

1 Chronicles 28

If I had ever believed in the theory of evolution, I'm pretty sure my first pregnancy would have blown that belief out of the water. As I went through that experience, week by week, I marveled at the little life unfolding in my own body. From the heart that is fully functional and begins to beat by five weeks to the whole development process, it was very hard for me to understand how people (especially doctors who know the intricacies of pregnancy) could believe that there is no design involved in human development.

God can be trusted with the details of our lives.

God can be trusted with the details of our lives.

1 Chronicles 24

In this chapter, we encounter once again the Hebrew practice of casting lots. This time, it was used to create the divisions of priests who would work in the temple: "A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants. They divided them impartially by casting lots, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar." (vs 4-5)

God is the best choice.

God is the best choice.

1 Chronicles 21

Even after David repented of his sin involving Bathsheba and Uriah, he was still struggling with the issue of being in control as king. Thus, though he knew he shouldn’t do it, he asked Joab to take a census of the army. Joab was disgusted by the request, but did it anyway. For some reason, David apparently wasn’t ready to place his full trust back in the Lord, and he wanted to make sure he could "walk softly and carry a big army" ...just in case.