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.


Holy #AtoZChallenge

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

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.
Holy appears more than 550 times in the Bible (NIVUK).

Holiness appears 24 times. Holy is defined in the Collins Scrabble Dictionary as ‘of God or a god’. That wasn’t the first meaning that came to my mind. ‘Set apart for God’ is my understanding. Holy things have to be handled in special ways.

In the Bible (often called the Holy Bible) the word holy is often paired with certain words. The seventh day has to be kept holy as the Sabbath. Genesis 2:3

God’s people were a Holy nation.  Exodus 19:6

Holy place and most holy place (sometimes translated as Holy of Holies) were mentioned in early instructions to priests in the book of Exodus.

We read of places where God met with people as being holy: a Holy Mountain, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple.

God’s name is holy. This theme is part of the worship in the Psalms, for example Psalm 30:4.: Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about Holy festivals, the Holy One of Israel and his (God’s) Holy Spirit. Isaiah 6:3

To jump to the story Isaiah has a vision of God’s holiness click here.

Another prophet, Jeremiah, wrote of The Lord and his holy words, holy dwelling and holy places.

A third prophet, Ezekiel contrasted holy things with common or unclean things. Ezekiel 22:26

Nebuchadnezzar recognised the spirit of the holy ‘gods’ in Daniel. Daniel 4:18

Other prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Zechariah all use a word translated as holy.

Earlier when Moses heard God’s message from the burning bush he was told that he was on holy ground. Exodus 3:5

The New Testament tells us about events about one hundred years later than the most recent writing in the Old Testament. It begins with the good news told by Matthew.

Mary was found to be pregnant with Jesus the Messiah through the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18

The apostle Paul wrote:
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4 

We also read in the New Testament of holy prophets, holy faith, holy city, holy angels, holy ones and holy people. ‘Blessed’ and ‘holy’ are paired together. Revelation 20:6

Isaiah has a vision of God’s holiness

Sometimes I lose track of time, but some years stand out in my memory. In one such year I realised that God wanted me to be a prophet and King Uzziah died. Learning God’s will for my life was a terrifying experience.

I saw the Lord on his throne in the temple. Above him angels were flying I recognised that they were seraphs, because they had six wings. One pair of wings covered their faces, another covered their feet. They used the third pair to fly. They were praising God, calling out, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory.’

Their voices were so loud that the doorposts and thresholds shook. The temple filled with smoke.

I was overawed. All I could think about was my unworthiness to be in the presence of the Lord and his holy angels.

‘Woe is me’, I cried out in my realisation that my lips were unclean and I was in the presence of much holiness.

One of the seraphs took a live coal in tongs and touched my lips with it. He told me that my guilt was taken away and my sin atoned for.

Then the Lord himself spoke. ‘Who shall I send? Who will go for us?’

Without stopping to think I replied, ‘Here I am send me.’

Then the Lord gave me a message for the people. I don’t know how I dared to reply to him with a question, but he mercifully replied to it. All I can do is pass on to the people what the Lord tells me. Sometimes I barely understand the message myself.

Do click through to the passage (Isaiah 6) I have based my story on. The language is far more beautiful than mine!

Revelation 4:8 is a New Testament passage echoing Isaiah’s vision.


Good(ness) #AtoZChallenge

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

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.

Good, the word in this post, is particularly important. The search on Bible Gateway for ‘good’ found more than 600 results, including the words ‘good’, ‘goodness’, ‘goods’ and ‘goodwill’.

‘Goods’ means possessions – good things with which God has blessed people. Of these results 23 were for ‘goods’.

To jump to the story The Good News of the Bible’s Message click here.

Creation was good Genesis 1

Tree of the knowledge of good and evil Genesis 2

Exodus 33:9 Moses met with God in the tent of meeting, but God was concealed by smoke. Moses asked to see God’s glory; God’s goodness would pass by Exodus 33:18- 23

Promise of good things Numbers 10:29

All God’s promises were fulfilled. Joshua 21:45 and 1 Kings 8:56, for example.

The temple was filled with God’s presence as a cloud after the people praised him saying He is good, His love endures for ever. 2 Chronicles 5:13

Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Mark1:1 John the Baptist declares the good news

Acts 10:36-38 A reminder about Jesus Christ’s healing ministry, prophesied by Isaiah. (Isaiah 35:4-6)

2 Peter 1:5-7 Character traits to be developed by followers of Jesus Christ include goodness.

Proverbs 14:22 Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.

The Good News of the Bible’s Message

In the beginning God made the world and everything in it. It was good. The first people lived in a garden where there were trees with fruit. God told them they could eat fruit from any of the trees except one. They were disobedient, eating fruit from the forbidden tree.

From then on the story is of a few people drawing close to God and learning from him. Having the conviction that God is good, they passed on their knowledge of him and his instructions to the others.

One such person was Isaiah. He was a prophet in Judah for many years. When he began to prophesy King Uzziah reigned. After him there were two kings – a father and son – Jotham and Ahaz, who reigned for a total of 45 years. The next king was Hezekiah and Isaiah was still prophesying in his reign. (The time was around 740 – 680 BCE.)

Isaiah’s prophesies include some things which happened soon after he spoke about them. Others took hundreds of years to be fulfilled. Some may not have come to pass yet.

The Book of Isaiah is the longest book of prophecy in the Bible. Some of the best known parts of it concern a virgin, who would give birth to a son, named Immanuel, which means God with us. This child would be the Prince of Peace. His kingdom would never end. Isaiah also spoke of miraculous healings, which would happen.

Fast forward to around the year 30CE.

John the Baptiser (or Baptist) had proclaimed good news of the kingdom. Jesus of Nazareth claimed that Isaiah’s prophecies had been fulfilled in his own healing ministry.  The people of his own town did not accept this, but Jesus continued to spread the good news of the kingdom of God in other towns.

The parts of Isaiah’s prophecy, which have not yet come to pass, are about the time when Jesus Christ will return in glory. No-one knows when that will happen, except God the Father.

Sources of information: Bible Gateway, Holy Bible (NIV) with cross-references and concordance, The Amazing Collection for Women published by Big Dream Ministries