We’ve been on quite a journey through the pre-exilic prophets in our Whole Story sermon series. I’ve heard from so many of how much God is teaching and revealing to you through these books that few of us have spent any substantial time studying. For my part, I have come to a place of now counting these as some of my favorite portions of Scripture, that I will come back to again and again.
And the reason I will is because these men have taken me by the hand, and lead me into previously unexplored territory on the character, attributes, majesty, glory, and plans of this stunning God we find in the pages of Scripture. Take this last week as an example — our study of the prophecy of Zephaniah.
In this little book, we find language that draws probably the greatest contrast in all of Scripture. Namely, we have one of the most awesome descriptions of the wrath of God in judgment for a little over two-thirds of the prophecy: the earth will be consumed in the fire of his burning jealousy and wrath; the very order of creation will be reversed, returning to darkness, gloom, and void. And, we have one of the most vivid and soaring descriptions of the love of God for his people, with language that at first read seems almost over the top. The words used, by God, for how God feels about sinners are frankly hard to comprehend and accept.
All in the same book.
And all connected to this Day — the Day of Yahweh, the Day of Judgment — that is coming. This urgent proclamation that “the END is near!”
If you’d like to learn more about all of that, I encourage you to listen to my sermon on the book of Zephaniah. And for further study on this book of stark contrasts and the coming end of the world, head over to our friends at The Bible Project. There you will find videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this book, as well as all the books found in The Whole Story of God.
One other thing.
The aim of The Whole Story sermon series has been to inspire in you a love for the Bible. Part of how that love should very naturally work itself out is in the desire to read it regularly, and hopefully, daily. So each week, our hope has been that you will have read the portion of the story under study prior to coming to the Sunday morning service to hear a sermon from that book.
One way to do that is to use the sermon and reading guide that we’ve handed out in our service the last two weeks, which is also available on the Whole Story Resource Table in the lobby, and can be downloaded here. Another way is to use the Read Scripture app, which allows you to have the week’s reading already put together for you, and includes the Bible Project videos for each book and various themes, right inside the app. We highly recommend you download it.
One other aspect about that daily reading plan — it includes taking in a Psalm each day. You can watch this three minute overview video that explains the whole story of the Bible, the reading plan, and why the Psalms are so important to our daily intake of God’s Word.
“Each day’s reading session includes a Psalm, because we believe that reading the Bible isn’t just an intellectual experience, but also spiritual. We invite you to take the year to develop the daily habit of praying through the Psalms [as a spiritual experience]. And by the end of the year, you’ll have prayed through the whole book of Psalms two and a half times!” (The Bible Project)
Therefore, this coming Sunday, to emphasize this aspect of our exploration of The Whole Story, I will be preaching a sermon from Psalm 19. I encourage you to read it each day, as well as take in the video on the Psalms from the Bible Project team. That way you will be prepared with a ready and expectant heart as we gather together Sunday morning at 10:30am at Calvary.
Enjoying the God of The Whole Story with you,
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.
Day Thirteen: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
One of the key assumptions we’ve been working with as we make our way through the wisdom literature is that God has hardwired wisdom into the way creation (and the creatures within it…us) operates. It was there at the beginning. It’s the inner logic of everything, and the secret code for how it works. (see Proverbs 8:22-31)
Day Eleven: A Pig Is Still A Pig
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. (Proverbs 11:22, English Standard Version) “Well…I never!” she replied to the King. Reading this proverb, it seems highly probable to me, given the stories of King Solomon and all the women in his life (1 Kings 11:3), that this was probably a proverb born from experience. He comes along a beautiful woman, of high social standing, of influence and power; but in his interactions with her, he begins to see her true self shining through all her external adornments. She has no discretion—she is a woman of loose and dissolute conversation, her mind and conscience are defiled. There’s a beauty for the eye, but the corruption of her character slowly transforms how Solomon sees her, and no amount of jewelry will cover that up.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.