Word #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter W

Word seems an appropriate choice for W in this series about words from the Bible. Wisdom was an alternative, but Understanding perhaps leads to wisdom.

Words may be written or spoken. Did you know that Jesus Christ is known as The Word (or The Word of God)? At the beginning of the Old Testament we read that God (the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit) spoke everything into existence. Genesis 1-2:3

At the beginning of the Gospel of John in the New Testament we read that The Word was there in the beginning. John 1:1-18 Jesus was and is and evermore will be! The Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as Wisdom.

Word appears over 950 times in the NIV translation. Sometimes it is used about ordinary words. Often it is ‘the word of the Lord’ – a prophetic word from the God, who speaks.

‘Sending word’ is used for sending a message. Word can also mean promise, or authority as in Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.’ Genesis 41:44 .

‘The word’ is also used in the New Testament as a shorter way of expressing ‘the Good News about Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God’.

Psalm 119 stands out among the Psalms as being about words. Psalm 119 has a section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabetic rather like an A to Z Challenge! Word (or words) appears about 30 times in this psalm, usually in praise of God’s word.

Moses receives and renews the covenant

The story about Moses in my post for the Letter B mentioned that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. This happened on the Holy Mountain.

The Ten Commandments were written by the Lord on tablets of stone. Moses was very angry when he came down the mountain and found that the people had turned away from God to worship a golden calf, which they had made. He threw down the tablets and they smashed. Exodus 32:19 The story of how the replacement set of stone tablets came into being is told in Exodus 34: 1-28.

Towards the end of Moses’ life he began to prepare the people and Joshua for a handover of leadership to Joshua. Moses gathered all the people together and read them the whole of the law, which he had received from God. It was very long. Moses had stayed so long on the mountain when he first received it that the people had given up hope of him and of God.

The people responded to sections of the law, replying, ‘Amen’. Let it be so.

There were warnings about the result of breaking the Law and promises about obeying it.
Moses asked the people to ‘choose life’ by obeying the Law. Deuteronomy 30:19

How the Law was given and the episode with the golden calf can be found in Exodus 20-33

The renewal of the covenant is described in Deuteronomy 29-34

Jesus claimed not to have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfil them. Matthew 5:17

In John’s gospel Jesus Christ (the Word) is quoted: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ‘ Matthew 4:4

He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’
Luke 11:28

Romans 8:26 The Holy Spirit helps us pray with ‘wordless groans’.

1 Peter 1:25 The word of the Lord endures for ever.


Understand(ing) #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter U

Understand mostly appears in the Bible as part of the word, understanding. There are over 230 references, depending on the translation searched. Is a definition of the meaning necessary here? There is no special meaning attached to understanding in the Bible, but there is a desire that the readers should understand its message.

Wisdom and understanding are often linked Deuteronomy 1:13, Deuteronomy 4:6

King Solomon asked the Lord for an understanding mind (sometimes translated as wisdom). 1 Kings 3:9

God understands everything about us 1 Chronicles 28:9

To jump to the story Planting seed click here.

King Solomon had a wise man to oversee the building of the temple 1 Kings 7:13-14

The book of Nehemiah (who restored the walls of Jerusalem) has references to people who could understand, especially being able to understand the Law.

The Book of Job is all about attempts to understand suffering and man’s inability to understand everything a God does.

The Psalms speak of understanding: those who seek after God Psalm 14:2

There are comparisons between foolishness and wisdom.

In Psalm 119 the psalmist (writer) asks four times for understanding (verses 1, 27, 34, 73) then explains how he has understanding (verses 99, 100, 104), asks again for understanding in verses 125, 144 , 169, while explaining how understanding is gained in verse 130

As Job discovered the psalmist explains that God created the heavens by understanding in Psalm 136:5

The Book of Proverbs is full of sayings about understanding.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Genesis 11:7 The tower of Babel was where God confused people’s languages so that they did not understand one another and could not work together.

The prophet Isaiah speaks about understanding. In particular he describes the Spirit of God as being a Spirit of wisdom and understanding. Isaiah 11:2

The understanding of the creator is unsearchable Isaiah 40:28

The people being slow to understand is also a theme in many prophets’ words.

Daniel had understanding in dreams and visions Daniel 1:17

The disciples did not always understand Jesus’ teaching Mark 9:32

After Jesus’ death and resurrection He opened the minds of two disciples so they would understand Luke 24:45

The Holy Spirit gives understanding 1 Corinthians 2:12

Planting seed

In the time when Jesus lived on earth there were no tractors or combine harvesters. Farming was done by people using animals to help them.

Nowadays seed is often planted exactly where the farmer intends using machinery.

In Jesus day the person planting seed (the sower) would have a basket or bag full of seed and walk to and fro in the field, throwing the seed. It would have been a familiar sight to the people who listened to Jesus. The method was known as broadcasting long before radio and television were invented!

One day when there were so many people trying to hear him he spoke from a boat, while they listened on dry land. He told a story about the seed, sown by a sower.

Some of the seed fell on the path. Birds flew down and gobbled it up.

Some of the seed fell on rocky ground. There was not enough soil for healthy growth. The seed germinated but withered, scorched by the sun.

Some of the seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the young plants.

The rest of the seed fell on good ground, where it grew and produced a yield of crop many times the amount sown. Perhaps one hundred times, or sixty times or thirty times.

Jesus did not tell the crowds the meaning of this story, but his disciples asked him about it later. He told them that they were being given the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.

The crowd would not understand in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

He explained to his disciples that the message was the seed. When people did not understand the message it was like the seed on the path.

The seed on the rocky ground represented people receiving the message gladly, but not continuing as disciples when persecution came.

The seed among thorns was like people, who allowed the cares of this world and the false hope of riches to crowd out the message.

The seed falling on good ground was like someone hearing and understanding the message and continuing, bearing differing amounts of fruit.

This story is a retelling of the Parable of the sower Matthew 13:1-23


Trust #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter T

Trust is related to belief. The difference is that belief may be only in the mind. Trust involves what is usually referred to in the Bible as the heart. This is the centre of one’s being, the emotions and perhaps the will. The statements made at baptism include the words ‘I believe and trust.’ Trust leads to obedience.
Trust appears in the Bible about 170 times including words like trustworthy and trusted. Many of the verses in the Bible about trust include a promise.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

The Book of Job speaks of trust, as do many Psalms, Proverbs and many of the prophets.

To jump to the story Hezekiah, KIng of Judah click here.

Psalm 9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 13:5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psalm 32:10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. (steadfast = enduring)

Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.

Isaiah links trust with ceasing to be afraid and having peace. Isaiah 12:2 and Isaiah 26:3

Isaiah 30:15 in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

In the New Testament there are references to the words written in the Bible being trustworthy. 1 Timothy 1:15, 1 Timothy 4:8-10, 2 Timothy 2:11, Titus 1:9, Titus 3:8, Revelation 21:5 and Revelation 22:6

Psalm 22 foreshadows Matthew 27:43

Hezekiah, King of Judah

After the reign of King Solomon, the son of King David, the kingdom was split into two.  A succession of kings (and one queen) ruled Judah from Jerusalem, while the northern kingdom of Israel was ruled by other kings in Samaria.

Hezekiah became King of Judah at the age of 25 years. His father, King Ahaz, had not put his trust in God.

Hezekiah immediately began to put things to rights. He reinstated worship of the Lord in the temple in obedience to the rules handed down from the times of King David and King Solomon.

Passover was celebrated with crowds of people gathered from Israel and Judah in a way that had not been done for years. Not all the people invited to celebrate Passover bothered to travel to Jerusalem*. Afterwards the people of Israel destroyed all the idols that had been worshipped previously on the high places. Then they went home.

Hezekiah did what was good and right and faithful in obedience to God’s laws. He sought God wholeheartedly and prospered. (Faith is similar to trust, often implying loyalty as well.)

The prophet Isaiah was alive during Hezekiah’s reign. Hezekiah acknowledged Isaiah’s prophetic gifting. When he needed guidance Hezekiah prayed to God and consulted Isaiah.

When a foreign power threatened Jerusalem Hezekiah looked for guidance and made a plan. He made it difficult for an invading army to find water. He refused to listen to the blasphemous lies the enemy told about the God he worshipped. They said God had as little power as the idols the neighbouring nations worshipped. Hezekiah’s people proved that they trusted him by obeying his order not to answer the taunts of the enemy.

Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed urgently to God. Hezekiah asked God to show the nations of the world that he alone was God. Then God acted by sending an angel of death. All the leaders and fighting men of the enemy were found dead in their tents, one hundred and eighty-five thousand of them! The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, withdrew to his own country where he met his own death.

Hezekiah became dangerously ill, but recovered after pleading with God, who granted him 15 more years of life. Hezekiah’s prayer is recorded in Isaiah 38:10-20

The stories about Hezekiah may be found in three books of the Bible: 2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39 and 2 Chronicles 32

*See Letter K for another story about ignoring an invitation.