Wednesday, September 9, 2015

BIBLE STUDY: "DANIEL, EZEKIEL, and REVELATION"

Sharing Points: Week # 5

 

The History

 

Joshua:

Joshua led God's people after Moses died. Joshua brought the people into the land that God had promised to them. And he commanded their army in many battles against evil nations. God helped Joshua to win these battles. Joshua's first battle was the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6).

Joshua also directed the people to obey God's law (Joshua 5, Joshua 7 and Joshua 24). The Book of Joshua also contains records about the division of land (Joshua chapters 13-21).

The Book of Joshua is a history book from the Bible's Old Testament.

 

Judges:

The Book of Judges is a history book in the Old Testament of the Bible. But it does not only contain history. It also teaches us to trust God more.

The Book of Judges contains the history of about 300 years when Israel had no king. Instead, God appointed special people, called 'judges' to lead the people. These 'judges' were not like judges today. They were holy men (and one woman), whom God called. They led the people in battles. And they helped the people to serve God.

When there was a judge, the people obeyed God. And God helped the people in their battles against their enemies. But, when there was no judge, the people forgot God. And God allowed their enemies to be strong. So, the people asked God to help. And then, God appointed another judge. (Judges 2:16-19).

Some of the famous judges were Deborah (Judges chapters 4-5), Gideon (Judges chapters 6-8) and Samson (Judges chapters 13-16).

 

Ruth:

The Book of Ruth is a beautiful story. It is in the Old Testament part of the Bible.

The Book of Ruth is about a young widow, Ruth. Ruth was a foreigner. But she came to Israel to help Naomi. (Naomi was Ruth's husband's mother.) Ruth left her own gods, to serve the real God. Naomi and Ruth were very poor. But Ruth could collect any grain that remained after the harvest. This was God's law. And one man who respected this law was called Boaz. So, Ruth came to Boaz's field to collect grain. Boaz saw Ruth and he loved her. He agreed to pay her family's debts, so that he could marry Ruth.

Ruth was just a poor foreigner. But her family became Israel's royal family. Both King David and Jesus belonged to this family.

 

1 Samuel:

1 Samuel is a history book in the Old Testament of the Bible. This book teaches us that we must always obey God. 1 Samuel tells the story of the first king of Israel. For many centuries, Israel had no kings. The people did whatever they wanted to do. But God appointed special judges to lead the people. The last of these special judges was Samuel (1 Samuel 7:15). Samuel was a very holy man. When Samuel was old, the people asked Samuel to appoint a king (1 Samuel 8). God told Samuel to appoint Saul. Saul sometimes obeyed God. But sometimes, Saul was evil.

So, God chose David to be king instead of Saul (1 Samuel 16). David trusted God. We see this when David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). And David loved God. But David did not become king immediately. Saul was still the king. David respected Saul. David even refused to attack Saul. The book of 1 Samuel ends with the story of Saul's death.

 

2 Samuel:

2 Samuel is in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is a history book. We can learn many lessons for our own lives from the events in this book. The book of 2 Samuel is about King David. The book discusses the events while David was king. David's soldiers fought many wars. They obtained the city of Jerusalem in a successful battle (2 Samuel 5). Jerusalem became their capital city.

David loved God. David was a good king, but he made some terrible errors. He had sex with a married woman called Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). And David ordered the death of Bathsheba's husband. Later, David confessed his evil deed to God (Psalm 51). Afterwards, David's own son, Absalom, fought against David (2 Samuel 18). But God saved David from all his enemies (2 Samuel 22).

 

1 Kings:

1 Kings is a book about the history of the people called Israelites. It is in the Old Testament, in the Bible. The Books of Kings continue the story that began in the Books of Samuel. In these history books, the Bible contains many examples which teach how we should live (2 Timothy 3:16). 1 Kings begins with the story of Solomon. Solomon was a wise king at first (1 Kings 3). Then he became rich (1 Kings 10:14-29). He built a temple (house of God) in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6). But then Solomon took many wives. When he was old, they encouraged him to serve evil gods (1 Kings 11). After Solomon died, there was a revolution. The country called Israel became two countries. The south was called Judah. Rehoboam was the first king of Judah. The north was still called Israel. Here Jeroboam became king (1 Kings 12). The writer wants to teach a lesson. When the kings obeyed God, the people were at peace. When the kings did not obey God, but served other gods, bad things happened. When the people of Israel stopped serving God, he sent a prophet (a holy man). He was Elijah. He did wonderful things. He told the people to serve God again.

 

2 Kings:

2 Kings continues the story of the nations of Israel and Judah. It is a history book, from the Old Testament of the Bible. In these history books, the Bible contains many important lessons for us today (2 Timothy 3:16). 2 Kings describes how the kings of these nations refused to obey God's law. The kings and their people did not respect God. Instead, they served evil gods. And the behavior of the people was very wicked. However, there were a few people who truly served God. And God sent his servants (called "the prophets") to warn the evil people.

But the nations of Israel and Judah would not obey the words of the prophets. God allowed enemy nations to attack. These nations destroyed Israel and (later) Judah. And the soldiers took the inhabitants of Israel and Judah to distant countries. But God still cared about the people from Israel and Judah. God promised that, in the future, these people (or their children or grandchildren) would return home. 2 Kings begins with the end of the story of Elijah. Elijah was a great prophet of God. And God did not allow Elijah to die. Instead, Elijah went up to heaven. Elijah's companion was a man named Elisha. Elisha saw Elijah rise to heaven, in a vehicle of fire (2 Kings 2). Elisha himself became a great prophet. Indeed, Elisha's work was even greater than Elijah's work. God gave Elisha power to do many wonderful things.

 

1 Chronicles:

1 Chronicles is a history book in the Bible's Old Testament. The Books of Chronicles contain the same story as the Books of Samuel and Kings. But the Books of Chronicles also contain many official records and lists of people. 1 Chronicles contains the story of King David. Especially, the book describes his plans for the temple (the house of God in Jerusalem). David gave careful instructions to the priests. He wanted everyone to serve God properly.

 

2 Chronicles:

2 Chronicles contains the story of the kings of Israel. It discusses the 400 years after King David. It is in the Old Testament of the Bible.  2 Chronicles describes the great temple (house of God) that Solomon built in Jerusalem. This building was a great work for God. The temple was a very beautiful building. And the priests and people came to the temple to pray. After Solomon died, his country divided into two countries. 2 Chronicles describes the kings of both these countries and their work. Some of these kings were good kings, who served God. But most of these kings were very evil. They did not obey God's law. They served false gods. And these kings were cruel to the people. So, God allowed the enemies of these two countries to attack. And the enemies destroyed both countries.

 

Ezra

God's special people, the Jews, did not obey God. So he punished them. He allowed the king of Babylon and his army to defeat them. The king of Babylon ordered most Jews to live in Babylon. Babylon was a long way from their own country, called Judah. Many years later, the army from Persia defeated the army from Babylon. The book of Ezra in the Bible tells us that the king of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their own land. Not all the Jews returned to Judah, but some did return. The Jews started to build a temple (house of God) in Jerusalem. But the people who lived near them did not want the Jews back in the land. They opposed the Jews so that the Jews did not continue to build the temple. Many years later, God helped the Jews and they finished the building. Many years after that, Ezra led another group of Jews who returned to Judah. Ezra was a teacher who taught the people from God's word. God sent Ezra to teach the people so that they would become God's special people again. Often the people did not obey God's word, but Ezra continued to teach them. He told them how to live in a way that would please God.

 

Nehemiah

God's special people, the Jews, did not obey God. So he punished them. He allowed the king of Babylon and his army to defeat them. The king of Babylon ordered most Jews to live in Babylon. Babylon was a long way from their country, called Judah. Many years later, the army from Persia defeated the army from Babylon. The king of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their own land. Only some of the Jews returned to Judah. Many years later a man called Hanani left Judah to visited his brother, Nehemiah. Nehemiah was an important servant of the king of Persia. Nehemiah asked Hanani for news about Jerusalem, which was the chief city in Judah. Hanani told Nehemiah that the walls of Jerusalem were only heaps of stones. Fire had burned the gates of the city. This news made Nehemiah very sad. So Nehemiah asked the king to send him to Jerusalem to build the walls of the city again. The book of Nehemiah in the Bible tells the story of how Nehemiah and the people built the walls of Jerusalem again. The people who lived near Jerusalem did not want the Jews to build the city again. They opposed the Jews and tried to stop the work. But God helped them and they finished the work in 52 days. God wanted the Jews to become his special people again. So Nehemiah, with the help of Ezra, helped the people to obey God. But often the people did not obey God's word. They had forgotten that God had punished the people many years earlier. He did that because they did not obey him. God had allowed a foreign king to defeat the Jews. That was why the city of Jerusalem needed these repairs.

 

Esther:

Esther belonged to God's special people, the Jews. Esther and many other Jews lived in the land called Persia. Persia was a long way from their own land. The king of Persia was angry with the queen and he sent her away. Then he searched for another wife who would be the new queen. He chose Esther. One of the king's chief officials, called Haman, hated the Jews and he plotted to destroy them. But Esther's uncle Mordecai asked Esther to speak to the king to save the Jews. Although Esther was the queen, Mordecai was asking her to do a dangerous thing. People could not go to see the king if he had not invited them. But Esther did what Mordecai asked. The king was pleased with her and listened to her. The king gave to the evil Haman the punishment that Haman had wanted to give to the Jews. The book of Esther does not mention the name of God. This is strange for a book that is in the Bible. Sometimes God seems to be silent. We might even think that he does not care about us. The writer of the book of Esther probably wanted his readers to realise that God is always in control. Although we cannot see God, he is always doing things in the world. Nobody can stop his plans. The events in the book of Esther show us that God is in control.

 

Wisdom/Poetry

 

Job:

The Book of Job (in the Bible's Old Testament) is a long poem. The Book of Job discusses why innocent people suffer. God cares about people who suffer troubles. And God will help them, although sometimes they must be patient. Job was a good man. But Job lost all his possessions. Job's children died. Job became so ill that he wanted to die. But Job refused to insult God.

Job's friends supposed that Job was ill because of his evil deeds. But Job was innocent. Then, a wise man named Elihu explained the truth to Job and his friends. And God proved to them that God is great. God also showed them that he cares. Finally, God wanted Job to pray for his friends. In the end, God made Job successful again.

 

Psalms:

The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 ancient songs. King David wrote many Psalms (that is, songs). There are many different subjects. Many Psalms are glad songs which praise God (for example, Psalms 103 and 150). Other Psalms are sad prayers (Psalm 74). Some Psalms explain that God will rescue us from our troubles (Psalms 40 and 41). And some Psalms are about the history of Israel (Psalms 74 and 78). Psalm 119 is about the Bible. In Psalm 51, David confesses an evil deed. Psalm 22 describes how Jesus would suffer. Psalm 2 tells us that God will rule the world. Psalm 1 teaches that we must love God. The Psalms are a very special part of the Bible. We can learn many things about God from their beautiful words. They are in the Bible's Old Testament.

 

Proverbs:

The Book of Proverbs is a collection of articles about wisdom. It is in the Old Testament part of the Bible. Its main author was King Solomon.

The Book of Proverbs teaches that we must respect God. This is the most important lesson about wisdom. The Book of Proverbs begins with Solomon's advice to his son. In Proverbs chapters 1-9, Solomon explains the choice between wise behavior and foolish behavior. Good people are wise because they respect God. But evil people are fools. God will punish evil people. So, Solomon advised his son to study wisdom. In Proverbs chapters 10-22, there are 375 proverbs (wise words). These proverbs teach us how to be wise in many different situations. Then, there are 30 wise lessons (Proverbs chapters 22-24), many more proverbs (Proverbs chapters 25-29), two hard puzzles, and a poem (Proverbs chapters 30-31).

 

Ecclesiastes:

The Book of Ecclesiastes is in the Bible's Old Testament. We do not know who wrote Ecclesiastes. Many people think that the author of Ecclesiastes was King Solomon. However, in the book, the author simply calls himself 'The Teacher'. Solomon was very wise. But he did not know the purpose of his own life. He discovered that pleasure achieved nothing. He realised that even a wise man would die like a fool. And he did not know the purpose of work (Ecclesiastes 2). He even saw that money has no real value (Ecclesiastes 5). Solomon did know that rulers should be fair (Ecclesiastes 8). And everybody must respect God ((Ecclesiastes 5). And he believed that wisdom is good (Ecclesiastes 9:13-18). Solomon warned that everybody will die (Ecclesiastes 12). So, we must respect God now. We should not delay.

 

Song of Solomon:

The Song of Solomon is also called the Song of Songs. This book is a beautiful love poem. It is in the Bible's Old Testament. The Song of Solomon is the story of the king and the woman that he loves. So, he asks her to marry him. But she hesitates. And he encourages her. In the end, they marry. They are glad to be together. They love each other deeply. The Song of Solomon teaches us that God loves his people. Elsewhere, the Bible describes Christians as 'the bride of Christ' (2 Corinthians 11:2).

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