Day 214 (Aug. 2): Habakkuk complains to God against evil, God raises up Babylonians against Jerusalem, Habakkuk pleads with God for a pardon, God replies that there is too much corruption, Habakkuk prays for mercy, God informs Zephaniah with Judah’s coming judgment, last call to be humble before the Lord, judgment against Philistines

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Habakkuk 1-3:19

Zephaniah 1-2:7

Questions & Observations

Q. Can you tell us anything about Habakkuk? Was he a prophet?

A. Habakkuk and Zephaniah are considered to be part of the group of Minor Prophets known as “the twelve.”  In the Jewish Bible, each of these twelve writings (with Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) is part of one book.  Christians Bibles consider them as separate “books” but keep the group arrangement.  The twelve writings are included in (roughly) chronological order: Hosea first, Malachi last.

As to information on Habakkuk himself, we know almost nothing except for the fact that he was most likely a contemporary of the “major prophet” Jeremiah and fellow “minor” Nahum.  He is generally understood of being the “voice” of the small group of faithful Jews in Judah (possibly Jerusalem) that seek to understand why God is planning to bring about their destruction.  But that’s really all we know.

Q. (Habakkuk 3:17-18): Habakkuk sounds a little like Job here.  (Job left an impression on me.)  Although Habakkuk sees no signs of hope, he is trusting and rejoicing in the Lord.

A. Through Habakkuk’s visions/conversations with God, he comes to conclude that God is being just and that He will be faithful.  That last chapter is an astonishing psalm of praise.

Q. Can you tell us anything about Zephaniah?

A. Only what the writer chooses to tell us, but in this case, that’s actually something.  It appears that Zephaniah was related to the royal family, and was a great-grandson of Hezekiah the king.  The style of the letter also indicates that he understood royal politics and was most likely familiar with the earlier writings of Isaiah and Amos, both of which he alludes to in his book.

Q. (2:6-7) I welcome this glimpse of calm along the Philistine coast after the turmoil.

A. God’s message indicates that this land controlled by the sea-faring Philistines will revert to pasture land and be controlled by Israel in the aftermath of all the impending destruction.

Day 209 (July 28): A prayer for mercy and pardon, judgment and final salvation, Hezekiah dies

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Isaiah 63:15-66:24

2 Kings 20:20-21

2 Chronicles 32:32-33

Questions & Observations

Q. (Isaiah 63): It’s kind of confusing that sometimes Isaiah talks for himself, sometimes for God and I guess, here for the Israelites?

A. He is dialoguing, if you will, with God.  Isaiah begins in chapter 63, and then God responds in 64 and beyond.

Q. (63:17): Can that happen?  Can God “allow” people to turn from Him?  That seems just to be shifting blame to God.  Is it saying that God created them, so why did He make them where they could turn away from Him?

A. I guess that depends on your personal theology and perspective.  I personally am of the camp that says that God does not override free will, so we choose to turn away from Him, rather then His “allowing” or ordaining that we walk away (which would be much more of a Calvinistic argument, and I don’t want to go into that here).  Note well God’s reply in the next chapter, He basically says, “I was just waiting for you to call on me, but you never did.  You chose the path of sin, and now must deal with the consequences, but it is your own doing, not Mine.”  I think the way God replies sheds much light on His perspective on the matter.

O. (64:1-3): What an awesome picture this is painting.  Humans seem to have good short-term memories though.  And, when we don’t have frequent affirmation of God’s existence, our doubt rises.  But, like here, they are remembering God’s greatness.  We just have to keep that at the forefront of our memory.

O. (64:4-12): This reminds me of a child who keeps returns to home asking for money and forgiveness.

Q. (65:12): Who is the executioner?

A. Babylon, and King Nebuchadnezzar in particular.

Q. (65:20-25): God is describing heaven here?

A. He is describing His own restored Kingdom, as we have seen over the last few chapters.

Q. (66:2b-3a): This basically sums up who will be rewarded with salvation and who won’t, right?

A. I would say it makes for a good foundation, but a contrite heart alone is not enough: our hearts must allow us to see the salvation that God so generously offers, and accept the offer via the blood of His son Jesus.  But frankly, as verse 3 indicates, many choose to go their own way, content in the “knowledge” that they are all right on their own, and don’t need God.  Such thinking is very dangerous according to God.

Q. This reading went back and forth between talking about the resurrection of Jerusalem and judgment day, right?  It’s a little difficult to follow.

A. Actually, it also covered the destruction of Jerusalem as well, but yes.  God explains His position in response to Isaiah’s requests in the first chapter, and God says there is a price to be paid, but for those who survive (the remnant), they will inherit God’s eternal Kingdom.