Today’s Text: Zephaniah, 2 Chronicles 34:1-7
Highlights: Zephaniah might be the least known book of the Bible. Chapter 1:1 says it was written during the days of Josiah. Josiah was a great king (as the reading in 2 Chronicles 34 tells us) but God has already decreed that Jerusalem will be destroyed. The book could be roughly outlined: Jerusalem to be destroyed (Chapter 1), Nations that oppressed God’s people will be punished (Chapter 2), God’s people to be restored (Chapter 3). The last verse of the book says, “At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you; For I will give you fame and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I return your captives before your eyes,” Says the LORD”.
Compare 2 Chronicles 34:5 with 2 Kings 13:1-2 (which took place over 100 years earlier). What do notice? How might this relate to Zephaniah’s prophecy that Judah would come back from captivity and to the promises God has made to us today?
Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 21:17-26, 2 Chron 33:18-23, 2 Kings 22:1-2, 2 Kings 23:26-27
Highlights: Manasseh dies and is succeeded by his son Amon. Amon does evil in his reign of 2 years, just as Manasseh had done. Amon is killed in a conspiracy and Josiah his son becomes king at age 8.
Concerning Amon, it says “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made. But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the LORD (2 Chronicles 33:22-23). Three references are made relating Amon’s behavior to his father. What lesson does this teach about fatherhood?
Today’s Reading: Nahum
The book of Nahum concerns the fall of Assyria. Keep in mind that God had used Assyria to punish Samaria. They had destroyed much of Judah as well but God had turned them back at the walls of Jerusalem (during the days of Hezekiah and Isaiah). Remember that years earlier that God had determined to destroy Ninevah (capital of Assyria), but through the preaching of Jonah they had repented and had been spared by God. God is patient and willing to forgive but He is not mocked. God forgave them once but now says “I will prepare your grave, for you are vile” (1:14).
How does the end of the book (3:19) describe the reaction of the world to the news of Assyria’s fall? Why was this the case?
Today’s Text: Isaiah 65 and 66, 2 Kings 19:36 -37, 2 Chron.33:10-17
Highlights: Today we conclude Isaiah and resume the history of Judah. The last two chapters of Isaiah describe a glorious kingdom – a time of blessings for God’s people. Theses chapters also contain numerous reminders of judgement due on those whose hearts are not right.
2 Kings 19:37 refers to the fall of the king of Assyria after he had been threatening Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 33 tells about Manasseh’s repentance. Remember he was the worst king ever, but he learned his lesson, repented, and did some wonderful things in his latter years (33:14-16). What do you think of Manasseh’s repentance?
Isaiah 66 begins with a description of the greatness of God, followed by a declaration from God as to who can dwell with Him. We’ve seen this played out in the history of Israel, its kings (Mannasseh, for example), and it applies in our life as well. Who does it say God will “esteem” or “look upon”?
Today’s Texts: Isaiah 60 – 64
Highlights: Today’s chapters describe a wonderful time ahead for God’s people. “I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler. 18 No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise” (60:17-18). As you read look for many more, similar, beautiful, and exciting descriptions of a time of peace and prosperity. Statements like, “then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever” (60:21). Chapters 63 and 64 are called “the exiles prayer” and seem to be written from the perspective of God’s people who were punished with captivity, pleading with God for this redemption.
In Luke 4:17-21 Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-3. When did He say, at least this part of this prophecy, was fulfilled? How does that help us to interpret what Isaiah is talking about?
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 57, 58, 59
Highlights: These 3 chapters contain some of the strongest statements in the Bible about the sins of Israel and Judah. “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1). Though much of chapters 40-66 are about comfort, we should remember that it was during Isaiah’s time that the Assyrians conquer Samaria and in a little over 100 years God will use Babylon to destroy Jerusalem. There were some good kings, but their was much evil. These chapters also say much about God’s willingness to forgive if the people would repent.
Today’s question: Look at the beginning of chapter 58: “Day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God (v2). It sounds as though they thought they were religious. What do the verses which follow (3-7) reveal that was lacking on their part? What is the lesson for us?
Today’s Text: Isaiah 54:4-17, Isa 55, Isa 56
Highlights: In these chapters the prophecies continue speaking about future blessings for God’s people. There are numerous Messianic references, passages quoted in the New Testament and statements about how foreigners will be included among God’s people. In Chapter 54 God reassures the nation of His love: “With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the LORD, your Redeemer” (8). Chapter 55 is an invitation to all to come and receive God’s blessings. If we call on Him while He is near, and turn from sin, He will forgive! Chapter 56 speaks about how the goodness extends to foreigners and eunuchs who choose to do God’s will.
In 55 begins by describing the blessings of God as if it were bread and water. What are two points of contrasts in verses 1-4 between the physical food of this life and the spiritual food God offers?
Today’s Reading: Isa 51, Isa 52, Isa 53, Isa 54:1-3
Highlights: “Good News” is the theme of these chapters. 52:7 says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things.” There are several events of “good news” taking place for God’s people at this moment, including the victory over Assyria and the coming return from Babylon captivity–but this verse is quoted by Paul in Romans 10 referring to the gospel! The end of verse 52 and verse 53 of course describe the suffering and purpose of Jesus on the cross in great detail.
Isaiah 54:1 uses a powerful picture to capture the joyful hearts of God’s people. Why is this such a meaningful metaphor? (Incidentally, this is also quoted in the New Testament: Galatians 4.)
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 48:16-22, Isa. 49, Isa. 50
Highlights: Isaiah continues preach about trusting God. In chapter 48 God pleads with the people to obey Him and enjoy “peace like a river” (18), but “there is no peace for the wicked” (22). Chapter 49 says that to God, just saving Israel is “too small a thing” – God is planning to do something even greater! This is quoted in the New Testament (Luke 2:32, Acts 13:47) and refers to God’s plan to save Gentiles! In chapter 5o the prophet speaks with great personal trust in God: “The Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed” (50:7), and He rebukes those who reject God’s light.
Look again at 48:17-19 and how God’s laws are designed to bless us. What does the metaphor “peace like a river” mean to you?
Today’s Reading: Isa 45:14-25, Isa 46:1-13, Isa 47:1-15, Isa 48:1-15
Highlights: These chapters continue comparing God to idols. Chapter 47 addresses the Babylonians in particular and how they will fall. Chapter 48 again speaks of a redeemer, most likely Cyrus, that God will use to defeat the Babylonians and restore Israel from captivity. He again emphasizes the miracle of telling Israel these things ahead of time – even naming Cyrus – as proof that He is God.
Behind all the “Babylonian, Cyrus, and Israel” history are some eternal truths regarding God – His incomparable greatness and power and His love for His people. Look again at 46:3-4. God speaks of How he upheld Israel from birth and carried them from the womb (think about the Exodus and giving them the land). What does He promise He will do in the future? How might we apply this promise to ourselves?