Day 225 (Aug. 13): Judah will be restored with happiness, Elam will be destroyed and then restored, armies from North to rise up against Babylon, Babylon will become a wasteland, Babylon to be punished for sins against Israel, Babylon’s enemies will claim victory over her

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.

Jeremiah 31:15-40

Jeremiah 49:34-39

Jeremiah 50-51:14

Questions & Observations

Q. (Jeremiah 31:19): I have read about the young generation sewing their oats as it says here, “I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.”  It seems that so many teens and those in their 20s do some stupid things, me included!  We won’t go there.  It just seems like this time is a necessary evil to make mistakes, feel the repercussions and then correct ourselves.  Does God address this, or are all of our parents not feeding us the Word enough?  Today while I was driving I was just thinking about how we teach our girls the Bible stories and what God/Jesus would want us to do in certain situations, but we never talk to them about spending time with God.  I am hoping this new plan of mine will be beneficial to them now and forever.

A. Being young and wild is addressed in places (I’m thinking of the arrogant path the Prodigal Son takes in Jesus’ parable before he comes home in Luke 15), but honestly most people in the societies’ the Bible was written for did not have any time for such luxuries; they were simply trying to survive.

Q. (31:29): To me this means that the old generation of Israel/Judah lived a sour life.  They were led by wicked, wayward leaders.  Now, the generation that will return to Judah will reject the ways of the dead generation.  Is that in the ballpark?

A. Yes, I would say that’s a fair interpretation.

Q. (31:33-34): Rob, can you explain what God is talking about here?  I don’t know if this is the Judah’s reconciliation or is this about when Jesus was crucified.

A. Hmm, I would say that the situation God is describing is a description of the New Covenant, which comes about via the death of Jesus.  The early Church interpreted what Jeremiah is talking about here as the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, since they believed that the Spirit takes up residence within our hearts.  But it should be noted that this is also pretty clearly describing a “Kingdom” theology: it is describing the way people will act after the Day of Judgment, just as we have seen described in Isaiah.

Q. (49:34-39): It looks like God’s strategy is to destroy all the evil surrounding nations of Israel and establish himself as king.  This helps answer the previous question of everyone will know God?  There will be no need for explanations.

A. Yes, what we see here is, as we read about in Isaiah, is a time of trial and “winnowing,” and afterward, the establishment of God Himself as King (Christians hold that Jesus is this King, Jews do not of course!).

Q. (50:1-3): It’s hard to imagine anyone stronger than Babylon, except for God leading an army!

A. Just from the secular history of Babylon: under King Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon was basically never defeated; he basically WAS the Babylonian empire.  When he dies, his descendants will not be able to maintain his level of near-god like power, and things will unravel quickly for the nation.

Q. (50:21-51:14): So, I get from this reading that Babylon’s end is eminent and very near.  I am hearing the warnings to the exiles to escape, right?  But, has Jerusalem completely been destroyed?  Was it destroyed when they were talking about the rotting figs.  And, has it been 70 years?  I am just trying to understand the timeline here and if everything that God said will happen has happened yet before Babylon is destroyed.  And, any idea what reason the armies from the North (is this the kings of Medes from v. 11) had for attacking Babylon?

A. This is during the first exile period, but before Jerusalem has been destroyed.  Nebuchadnezzar will rule unchallenged until 562 BC, and Jerusalem will be destroyed in 586, which is still coming in our timeline.  After this the Medes and Persians (modern day Iran) will conquer the land and things will begin to change for Judah’s fortunes.

Q. Last question.  Rob, I remember when I first met you to talk about this blog project, you talked about a book that bridges the time period between the OT and the NT, telling what the times were like.  We start the NT on Sept. 24.  Would you recommend reading this book before we get to the NT?  If so, what’s its title again?

A. You certainly can, its called, The True Story of the Whole World by Bartholomew and Goheen (link) and it contains a section called Intermission, between the Testaments.  This section is very useful for describing the so-called “silent” period in which Israel awaited the Messiah and fought for independence before being conquered by the Greeks under Alexander the Great and then the Romans, who will occupy Israel in the era of the NT.

Day 180 (June 29): Jerusalem will rise after destruction, the Lord will reign, Israel will be humbled, Jerusalem will fall, warning to Jerusalem, God will restore Jerusalem, Judah’s judgment

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 1:21-5:30

Questions & Observations

Q. (Isaiah 1:23): Dare I say that this sounds like our country.  I can’t stand seeing so much government waste, so much corruption and our tax money being tangled up and not going to the places that truly need help.  Is this a fair comparison to back in the OT?

A. What caught my eye was the portion that talked about not seeking justice for the poor and widowers.  I think there are certain comparisons, but don’t forget we live in a very different world than they did, and not everyone in our society can be expected to be held to Judeo-Christian values.  Part of the reason the light of the gospel is so important to share is that until people see this light, they are often unaware of how dark their world really was.

Q. (1:27): What does Zion mean?  We’ll see more of it?

A. Zion is a term that God and others use to describe Jerusalem, and also the hill/mountain within the city itself, which in turn came to be seen as the Mountain of God (or one of them, along with Sinai/Horeb).  It is a shorthand way to refer to both the city and the Kingdom of God.  And yes, it will be seen over and over again.

Q. (2:1-5): God foretells stories whether it’s destruction or rebuilding.  And the way He talks is that — what I get from it anyway — the next phase whether good or bad will be the last and final.  He talks of how the people will act here, how they would worship.  But, He can’t force them too, right?  He’s just giving them a picture of what their lives could be if they followed Him?

A. I think that’s correct.  I do not believe that God overrides human will, so if we chose not to follow Him and go our own way, we reap the consequences.

Q. (3:1-1-5): God is making a situation where the leadership is already wicked to one that would be pure chaos.  How does this help them to get better?  Or, is it just punishment?

A. He’s warning them right now to stop it and repent.  If they don’t repent, then it becomes a just punishment.  But as we have seen — and these verses talk about — even the punishment serves His purposes: it forces the people to see the error of their ways that they saw no other way.  When the people are ready to repent, God will restore them.

O. (3:16-4:1): I must say that Isaiah is a very good writer!  What pictures he paints with God’s words.  I guess we could say that it was God who is the great writer.  I was looking at our landscape today in Florida, admiring the trees and the blue skies.  But, it was marred with utility lines.  I’m not saying we should do without them, just that humans do a good job of messing up God’s artistry.  But, here, Isaiah did Him justice!

Q. (4:5): With the cloud and smoke covering, we see a reminder of God guiding the Israelites in the desert for 40 years.

A. It is certainly shades of the Exodus, but the point of this verse is the shelter that God provides His children.  It’s a cool image to me.