The first time I met him I thought he was dead. Lying halfway in a merge lane with his legs twisted awkwardly beneath was Barry—stinky, toothless, and quite possibly dead, Barry.
When you study the Bible in chronological order, you can see better how the whole story unfolds. Find out why Chuck Swindoll compares the flow of Scripture to a rooftop.
“Man is born for trouble, / As sparks fly upward.” Who offered this insight? A philosopher in an ivory tower or a monk in cloistered monastery? No. These words dripped with pain from the pen of a flesh and blood sufferer. These words came from the pen of Job.
The book of Esther is a vital link in the chain of Jewish history, as it reveals what neither Ezra nor Nehemiah includes: crucial experiences of the Jews who remained in Persia. As we dig into this account, keep an eye on the central crisis driving the work.
How do we sift and sort truth from error? Do we all have to be biblical scholars in order to avoid falling into deception and error? And how do we respond to error? Considering some terms will help us sort through the morass:
What is Chuck's wish going forward for those who have journeyed with him all the way through 66 books of the Bible? Psalm 119:11 gives us a clue to his hopes for their future.
Nehemiah was a man who saw a need—a need to travel from his home in Babylon and rebuild the destroyed walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah couldn’t do this alone; he needed the king’s support. And with much prayer, he approached the king and received the backing he needed. What Nehemiah didn’t realize was his toughest tasks were still before him.
Given the responsibility of leading a group of God’s people back to Israel from Babylon to reestablish the proper way of worship, Ezra performed admirably—not because he was an electric personality but because he was a true man of the Word.
With dreams fuelled by inner hope rather than by evidence—and with determination based on hidden potential rather than on actuality—these brave men and women shape minds, stretch imaginations, challenge thinking, and best of all, model consistency.
Besides suffering being difficult physically, emotionally, and spiritually the fact that it often appears to have no rhyme or reason, and appears meaningless adds a measure of psychological suffering. Suffering is easier to endure if we can attach some meaning or purpose to it.