June 20th

Jeremiah 10-13

  • 10:1-25 – This chapter states how ridiculous it is to follow and worship idols. With the power of God, why would anyone want to worship anything else?
  • 11:1-23 – God knew the Israelites, though they had given themselves to a slew of idols, would cry out to him in times of trouble. He assures them that he will not hear their cries.
  • 12:1-4 – Jeremiah, like many other faithful people, complains to God that, at times, unfaithful people prosper.
  • 12:5-13 – God’s response to Jeremiah is not ideal. He lets him know that things will get worse and that Jeremiah will be attacked by some of those closest to him.
  • 13:1-11 – God gives Jeremiah a very tangible sign of his plans for Judah who once clung to him but now has fallen into pride, which would ultimately lead to destruction.
  • 13:15-27 – God threatens to send Judah into exile unless they turn back to God. Particularly in verse 23, he does not seem hopeful for a good outcome.

June 19th

Jeremiah 7-9

  • 7:1 – Jeremiah’s sermon in the temple begins.
  • 7:4 – Though this phrasing may not sound like a problem, the reason they are deceptive words is because the people of Jerusalem felt that having God’s temple was their ticket to salvation. Like meaningless sacrifices, having the temple meant nothing if you weren’t following God.
  • 7:8-15 – God planned to destroy the temple in order to destroy the peoples’ false sense of security. They were relying on it for an automatic connection to God but living unfaithfully.
  • 8:8-22 – The Israelites are feeling the consequences of their sin and unfaithfulness. They’re wondering if there is any remedy as they realize God is far from them at this point.
  • 9:1-6 – Jeremiah is grieved because of the sins of his people. He mourns because of their disconnection from God.
  • 9:7-11 – God’s response does not give much comfort.
  • 9:12-22 – The Israelites are called to mourn over their unfaithfulness.
  • 9:23-26 – God makes it very clear what he’s looking for. He lets the people know that they are not just to be circumcised in body, but also in heart. He is looking for faithful followers.

June 18th

Jeremiah 4-6

  • 4:1-8 – Judah is called to repentance but there is question if the Lord will actually forgive them.
  • 4:19-31 – Judah had become desolate, which was shameful. The people cried out in anguish over the sorrow of this.
  • 5:1-19 – Jeremiah tells God the people are not repenting. God declares his intent to punish them for their sins and even alludes to exile.
  • 5:20-31 – God reflects on the Israelites’ unwillingness to repent, how it has shaped them and declares that it’s absolutely necessary for him to punish them.
  • 6:1-14 – This is God’s warning to Jerusalem to repent or face certain consequences.

6:15-30 – Jerusalem will soon face disaster

June 17th

 

Jeremiah 1-3

  • 1:4-10 – Like several others called by God, Jeremiah has an excuse of why he can’t possibly be God’s instrument. God disagrees and assures him that he will.
  • 1:13-14 – Babylon is to the north and eventually fulfills this prophecy.
  • 1:18 – Jeremiah will be protected by God as long as he is serving God.
  • 2:1-30 – Through Jeremiah, God remembers the connection he had with Israel and then how sharply they turned from him. They cannot deny how much they’ve forsaken him because he gives specific examples.
  • 3:1-10 – The wife’s “whoredom” is describing Israel’s tendencies to worship other gods. Judah saw Israel’s unfaithfulness and instead of learning from it, emulated it.
  • 3:11-18 – God speaks of how he will forgive Israel and allow them to return to him.
  • 3:19-25 – God calls Israel to repent.

 

June 16th

Song of Solomon 5-8

  • 5:2-8 – Her lover comes to visit her but her teasing jokes accidentally send him away and she is unable to find him.
  • 7:1-9 – His loving descriptions of her get a little racy. For all you single men out there: these lines are gold. Use them and I guarantee you’ll have yourself a wife in no time.
  • 8:6-7 – The woman declares that she and the man are inseparable. She also explains that the force of love cannot be resisted

June 15th

Song of Solomon 1-4

 

  • The identifications of who is speaking are different in different translations based on what is thought to be happening. Translators agree that it is a conversation. Many believe it is between a bride and a groom, but from the conversation it is clear they’re in love.
  • 1:1-17 – The man and woman flirt and plan to meet up. They are not shy about expressing how attracted they are to one another.
  • 4:1-7 – I mean…what girl doesn’t want to be described like this? “Thank you for saying my teeth look like shorn ewes…”. But truly, this entire passage, particularly the beginning and end are such loving descriptions.

June 14th

Ecclesiastes 9-12

  • 9:7-10— Basically, enjoy your life and treasure every moment, because one day you’re going to die. The message of this whole chapter is that everyone dies- rich, poor, good, bad, Jew, Gentile, etc. So, rather than focusing on your work to try and make more money expending too much effort trying to make yourself holier or more righteous, take a step back and enjoy the things that matter: relax and spend time with your family and enjoy God’s blessings (food and wine, in this case). He’s not saying “don’t worry about being righteous”, but rather that this things are actually part of what it means to be a righteous person and that God wants us to be happy.
  • 10:8-10 – There is danger in the world, but wisdom can minimize the danger we face.
  • 11:1-4 – The world is uncertain and bad things will happen, but we are called to faithfulness and generosity in the midst of the uncertainty.
  • 12:13 – This is the gist of the whole book. Though so much of what we focus on and worry about is “a chasing after the wind”, we have this one purpose that matters – to follow God and keep his commandments. This could simplify a lot for us.

June 13th

Ecclesiastes 5-8

  • 5:1-3 – These verses encourage us to enter God’s presence with reverence and awe. We are to listen for God first instead of assuming we know what he wants and how we should act.
  • 5:4-7 – It is better not to tell God we’re going to do something and not do it than to never promise anything at all. This is similar to the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 21.
  • 6:1-6 – Possessions truly don’t matter. Most of the time, when we have lots of things, we’re worried about maintaining possession of those things and often don’t enjoy them. This is a waste of life.
  • 7:1-14 – Though not the most exciting message, this aims our sites at death because, ultimately, that’s where we’re all headed. The section also lets us know that joy is always accompanied by sorrow. God made both and we can’t really have one without the other.
  • 7:19-22 – These verses make it clear that righteousness in humanity is very relative.
  • 7:27-29 – In biblical poetry, women tend to be personified as either tempting seductresses or virginal and pure. This is most likely what’s going on here as Solomon explains the temptation of folly in the face of wisdom.
  • 8:1-7 – Solomon continually retorts that what we achieve on earth is somewhat insignificant because we all die. But be sure to read through to the end to learn his final conclusion.

 

June 12th

Ecclesiastes 1-4

  • 1:9 – “There is nothing new under the sun” is repeated throughout Ecclesiastes. This is used to remind us that the triumphs, tragedies, as well as daily successes and annoyances, are not new to us. Others have experienced them before us and others will after us.
  • 1:12-16 – The traditional understanding is Solomon wrote this book. He is identified as a king, in the line of David, and having greater wisdom than anyone else. Some modern theologians argue that the language suggests that it had to have been written after the exile and thus was someone else. It has not been proven that Solomon didn’t write it. (We will refer to the writer as Solomon throughout the notes for simplicity sake.)
  • 1:17 – “Chasing/striving after wind” is a repeated phrase in Ecclesiastes too. This simply means that it is a futile effort.
  • 2:1-11 – First, Solomon sought out pleasure in wild living and material things. He found out, as many of us could tell him from our own experiences, that wasn’t going to work.
  • 2:12-26 – Solomon then pursues wisdom and working hard to gain wealth. Both also prove to be pointless because it puts you in no better position when you die.
  • 3:1-8 – These verses will sound familiar because of the popular song by The Byrds. These verses explain that God made everything to run in its course in its allotted time. We will face the good and the bad, but nothing should overwhelm or overtake us because it is passing.
  • 4:9-12 – These verses are key in helping us understand the importance of friendship and being in relationship in general. We are designed to lean on others and have them lean on us as well.
  • 4:13 – The things that we value, wealth and power, are not always the things that benefit us most.