Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Jeremiah chapter 2 lays out the causes of an unfortunately all-to-familiar phenomenon in the life of a God-follower: Falling away. In modern church-speak it may be called apostasy or drifting. Those who fall away lose their taste for the things of God, His Word, His presence, and His people. They are often lacking self-awareness and personal accountability for their conduct. They may seek to blame others for their failures and for their own apostasy.

To “fall away” is really a misnomer. Falling suggests lack of control or choice. Make no mistake, falling away is a choice–a series of little, seemingly inconsequential choices. It may be simple things. For example, Psalm 1:1-3 outlines warns against bad company. Moses warned them about the choices in the wilderness, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

In Jeremiah chapter 2, we are given additional valuable insight into why Israel had fallen away from God, and how He viewed their apostasy.

Falling Away Occurs where there is Ungratefulness

Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. Jeremiah 2:6-7 (NKJV)

God notes that His people either disregarded or forgotten all that God had done or them in bringing them out of Egypt and caring for them the forty years in the wilderness. They have so disregarded what He had given them as to defile it by their worship of idols and other related abominations. He accuses them of being ungrateful for His provision of the land of Israel with its bounty. This ungratefulness has contributed to their falling away.

Falling Away Occurs under Poor Leadership

The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. Jeremiah 2:8 (NKJV)

God, through the prophet, describes the situation where the priests, those responsible to teach and guide the people in spiritual things, did not have a relationship with Him. He goes on to say those entrusted with political leadership sinned against His law, and finally, the prophets, who were to speak the word of the Lord to the people, failed and turned to idols. The Israelites didn’t have elections to choose their leaders as we do today in state and federal government, but they did have the ability to speak out against corrupt and ungodly leadership, especially in the house of God. Leaders can be wrong and misleading. It may be intentional or a drifting away from the truth. We must be diligent to always test what is being said from the pulpit or the lectern against the absolute truth of God’s Word.

Falling Away means forsaking God for false Gods and Self-reliance

“Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate,” says the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:11-13 (NKJV)

This passage is so sad. God counts apostasy as a two-fold offense. First Israel rejects the true and living God, who has been faithful to them–who has given life and sustained life as the fountain of living water. Instead of living water, they choose polluted water, the kind that comes from broken cisterns which cannot even hold the rain water but allow it to be defiled by mixing with the dirt around it. Non-potable, unuseable, unable to sustain life. It is a choice to die, and God says as much through the prophet Jeremiah.

Self-reliance and self-confidence are two enemies of the believer today. It is easy to build up your personal strength rather than your reliance on God. It is a subtle difference, but one which can lead to less trust in God and more on one’s own abilities and resources. Life comes from living water. The living water comes from God–He is the source of living water–the water that brings with it life. We need to come to that fountain and forsake the broken cisterns of our own making.

Falling Away occurs where there is Resistance to God’s Correction

“Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,” says the Lord. “In vain I have chastened your children; they received no correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.” Jeremiah 2:29-30 (NKJV)

Correction is an essential part of being a child of God. It speaks of a close and ongoing relationship between each of us and God. We know we are loved because He corrects and teaches us. Moreover, one who receives correction is wise. (Proverbs 15:5) When we refuse God’s correction and ignore His discipline, we become distanced from Him and apostasy consequence.

Throughout the writings of the Major and Minor Prophets, God warns Israel about apostasy and falling away from Him. He gives them opportunities to come back and be restored to relationship with Him, but in the end, judgment falls in Israel and they go into captivity because they fail and refuse to return to God. May we learn the lessons taught in the pages of the Hebrew Bible. God is not mocked. What a man sows, that will he reap.

Let us consider ourselves: the company we keep, the hardness of our hearts, our resistance to God’s correction, the weakness of the leaders we follow, and the tendency in our hearts towards self-reliance. Be warned that such attitudes and conduct lead to a falling away from God. Beloved, choose life! Return to your first love.

 

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Esther Chapter 7

Read Esther Chapter 7
1. What does Esther ask for at the 2nd banquet?

2. What does the King ask?

3. Who does Esther accuse?

4. What happened after Esther accused him?

5. What was the King’s response when he returned?

6. What happened to Haman?

7. What do the following verses teach?
□ Proverbs 26:10

□ Romans 2:5-6

□ Galatians 6:7-8

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Esther (Chapter 6)

Read Esther Chapter 6
1. When do the events of Chapter 6 take place according to Esther 6:1?

2. What does the King request when he cannot sleep?

3. What does the King learn about Mordecai from the reading of the chronicles?

4. What does the King ask his servant in Esther 6:3? What is his response?

5. What does the King seek in Esther 6:4? Who is found?

6. What question does the King ask Haman?

7. What are we told about Haman’s motives in giving his answer in Esther 6:6?

8. What does Haman answer the King?

9. What does the King tell Haman to do as a result?

10.What do you learn from Esther 6:12 about Haman’s reaction to King’s decision to honor Mordecai?

11. What is the response of his friends and his wife when Haman goes home and tells them what happened?

12. How does the chapter end?

13. What does the Bible teach about pride in the following verses?
□ Psalm 31:23

□ Psalm 101:5

□ Proverbs 15:25

□ Proverbs 16:5, 18

□ Proverbs 28: 25

□ Proverbs 29:23

□ James 4:6

□ 1 Peter 5:5-6

Esther (Chapter 5)

Read Esther Chapter 5
1. When do the events of this chapter occur according to verse 1?

2. What is Esther seeking to do? Why is it dangerous?

3. What happened when Esther appeared in King Ahasuerus’ court?

4. Copy Proverbs 21:1 here. Are you surprised the King extended his scepter?

5. What did Esther ask for?

6. What happened at the banquet?

7. What happened to Haman on his way home?

5. Who does he call for counsel? What advice to they give Haman?

6. What does Haman do?

7. What does the Bible teach about advice and counselors?
□ Psalm 1:1

□ Proverbs 11:14

□ Psalm 119?

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Esther (Chapter 4)

Read Esther Chapter 4
1. What is Mordecai’s response to the decree regarding the Jews?

2. What is the reaction of other Jews in other provinces?

3. How does Esther respond to Mordecai’s behavior (sackcloth and ashes and mourning)?

4. What does Mordecai tell Esther to do?

5. How does she respond? What is her meaning?

6. How does Mordecai respond? What is the significance of his statements?

7. What is Esther’s final response?

8. What does Esther seek through her fasting?

9. What do these scriptures teach about prayer?
□ Isaiah 59:1-3

□ Matthew 7:7-11

□ Matthew 21:22

□ Luke 11:1-13

□ Luke 18:9-14

□ John 14:12-14

□ James 4:2-3

□ 1 John 5:14-15

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.
Jeremiah 10:10

In Jeremiah 10:10, the prophet refers to God (Adonai) as:
The True God
The Living God
The Everlasting King

True God
God is the true God. This means He is genuine. He should not be confused with or lumped in with the myriad of other false gods. As the true God–there is no other God beside Him. (See Isaiah 44:6). Accept no substitute or counterfeit!

If God is the true God, it means that He is absolutely trustworthy. He keeps His promises. He can be trusted and relied upon. He is our Rock (See Psalm 18:2), a firm foundation.

Living God
Adonai is a living God and the God of the living. He is active now–in this moment in time. In the here and now with us, God is able to respond to us and our circumstances. He is not a dead religion, a set of rules and regulations to follow, He is alive and in relationship with us. He is our living hope. (See 1 Peter 1:13)

Everlasting King
God is the everlasting King. This description has two parts: “everlasting” and “King.” To say that He is a King speaks of His royalty, majesty, and authority. He is the Sovereign over all. He takes care and has the responsibility for all of His subjects. He is the one to whom we direct all our worship and praise.

To say His reign is everlasting is to say that it is enduring, surpassing and without beginning or end. He has no predecessor and no successor. Because He is everlasting, I need only concern myself with Him, what pleases and displeases Him, and His plans and purposes.

Truly He is worthy of all of our praise as the one true, living God and everlasting King!

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

1 I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:1-3 (NKJV)

The Lord is my strength is the theme of this psalm. Each line tells us something about how this is true. For example, in verse 2, we are told “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” Separating out the ideas within the verse, we find that three separate descriptive images:
1. Rock
2. Fortress
3. Deliverer

Each of these taken alone would be a great promise–a great character trait for God. But we see the three-fold majesty of Adonai in these verses. God is my Rock–that is to say, the foundation under me–that on which I am built. He is not shifting sand underneath me, but pure bedrock–immovable, unshakable, and unbreakable. He is eternal and unchanging.

Then I read that God is my Fortress–I understand that Adonai is my castle, the thick walls of protection around me. He is not merely in front as my shield (See Psalm 18:2b, 2 Samuel 22:3, Psalm 3:3) or behind as my rear guard (See Isaiah 52:12 and 58:5)–for He is both, but He is also all around me–a protection that encircles me.

Deliverer speaks of my escape. Fortresses can be taken or overrun, but God will be there to be my way of escape, my hiding place. (See Psalm 32:7)

These verses not only give this great insight into the character of God, but they also suggest the appropriate responses for us:
1. Love
2. Trust
2. Call

I will love You, O Lord, my strength. For God love is an action word. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 reminds us that love suffers long, rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, and so on. This is the love that instructs our love. As He gives us strength, we respond in love. In the economy of God, love is manifest through obedience. (See Deuteronomy 7:9, John 14:15)

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. A castle is only as good as the confidence its inhabitants have in it. If I don’t believe the fortress will hold, I will run out of it, into the open field and be destroyed. If I don’t believe the deliverer will come, I will try to save myself.

Shield suggests that one might be a way from the fortress–in the throws of battle. In battle, the shield is the miniature fortress–it may be all that separates me from the blows of the enemy, blows intended to kill or maim me.

Horn speaks of strength. It is used in the Hebrew Bible many times as a metaphoric expression of physical and spiritual power.

Stronghold is a synonym for fortress or castle. It speaks as those words do of defense, protection, and safety.

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. In this verse, I am reminded that because of all that God is to me and does/has done for me, I will call upon God (who is worthy) and through Him I will be saved from my enemies. Again, God is the answer to the dilemma–His is the One who will save. He is faithful and He will be there to answer when I call.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Good Morning, Abba

I rise to greet You
I rub the sleep from my eyes
dew still soaks the spring flowers
the lush forest of Your presence awaits me
in the book of remembrance

I approach
arms open wide
anticipating Your embrace
Abba!
Abba!
Good Morning!

Copyright MaryBeth 2021

Esther (Chapter 3)

Read Esther Chapter 3
1. Who is Haman? What is his lineage?

2. What favor is Haman shown by the King?

3. What was Mordecai’s reaction to Haman? Why?

4. How did Haman react to Mordecai?

5. What does Haman plan to do to retaliate against Mordecai? Why? How as it to be accomplished?

6. What other enemies of the Jews (those who sought to destroy them completely? Have there been over their 4000 year history? Name as many as you can.

7. What does God promise regarding the enemies of His people in the following verses?
□ Deuteronomy 28:7

□ 1 Samuel 17:47

□ Psalm 18:3; 47-48

□ Psalm 41:2, 11

□ Psalm 61:3

□ Psalm 119:98

□ Proverbs 16:7

□ Isaiah 59:19

8. What does the New Testament teach about how to deal with our enemies? The enemies of God?
□ Matthew 5:44

□ Romans 12:14

□ Ephesians 6:10-18

 

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

You have arrived to the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Holy City, Jerusalem, after a long journey from your home in Capernaum or maybe Migdol or even from as far away as Cyrene, in Northern Africa. You are mesmerized by the mid-day sun reflecting off of the top of the Sanctuary. You wonder if the gleaming white you see could possibly be snow on the Temple, but you know it cannot be. Your heart swells with the knowledge that HaShem, blessed be He, is near. 

You feel the tug of your lamb on the rope you’re holding. Will it be acceptable? It is without blemish as the law requires, but you have heard of even the most perfect lamb not being accepted by the Temple Priests and Levites. Like the day before you brought home your bride from her father’s house to consummate your marriage, you feel worry creeping into your belly. Your budget is small–you can’t afford another lamb.

Before you know it, you are being pulled forward with the crowd down the side of the Mount of Olives. Olive trees are swaying in the light wind. You begin to sing along with the other pilgrims  making their way in a serpentine formation down the steep path into the Valley Kidron and then back up again to the Sanctuary. “Hoshiana! Hoshiana! The worry slowly dissolves into joy. Adonai has delivered you once again. You will remember Him at the appointed time. You will never forget the love of your God–your Redeemer.

Olives Trees (Mt of Olives, Jerusalem)