These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

A day before we started reading Malachi, a friend said it’s been heavy on her heart for the church to heed and wondered my thoughts on it. We didn’t have time to chat but I thought it was beautiful timing since tomorrow we are reading it!! Read expecting the Lord to speak!

Giving to God

“But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor!”
Malachi 1:7-8

Giving our tithes and offerings is the way that we are able to trust God with what is very personal and close to us. God does not need our wealth, but he does deeply desire our devotion and our heart. He wants us to be all in so we can experience the way that is best, HIS way.

So I also was impacted by Mal. 1:7-8, but I’d like to challenge us to think about this principle on some other levels…

Namely: what sort of time, money, energy, resources are we offering to the Lord and building up his kingdom? (kind of like the call in Haggai to stop making your own house so beautiful while God’s house lies in ruins)

Maybe we can think of this another way: There have been seasons (maybe you all can relate) where Shana and I find ourselves spread thin doing all these things that seem “so important” that by the time her-and-I connect, we sort of give each others the leftovers. We’re both exhausted, it’s late at night, and our times where we had the most energy were spent elsewhere. That should not be, and we repent for that when it does happen.

Now consider what it’s like with the Lord. Is He only getting brief prayers before meals that are more mechanical than from the heart? Does He only get us quickly reading the Bible here and there without praying, considering, studying, and devoting ourselves to the principles laid out? Or maybe is His body (the church) hurting in ways we clearly can serve, and our time, energy, money is mostly spent elsewhere except for throwing a few scraps to honor God’s church here and there? I think all of these things are examples of not heeding the charge in Mal. 1:7-8.

Lastly, and interestingly, I find that when I do prioritize giving the Lord my best, it helps me prioritize my time and puts me in a position to give my wife my best, and everything else falls into place from there. Sort of like what’s said later in Malachi – “watch what will happen when you give me your first/best…and how I will bless you with surplus!” (my paraphrase). Also similar to, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you”

Malachi 3

We actually went through Malachi 3 with our family this past weekend when they were in town as I thought that chapter was really rich.

The more I’m reading this book though Malachi 2:13-15 is really hitting me:

“You cover the Lords altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.”

Wow! God is seeking Godly offspring. He brought my wife & I together with a portion of His spirit. Yet, I have so often trampled on that with lust in my thoughts…I’m engaged in ongoing accountability and more to keep pure but these verses really spurred me on. And to think any of this unrepentant sin is going to lead to potentially unanswered prayer… powerful.

I’m glad you teased out this passage. It puts together some things my wife and I have been going through recently:

  • dear friends who are husband and wife had a blowup in front of us – we realized that their marriage is still really on the rocks, and have tried to walk through this with them ever since
  • other dear friends who are husband and wife had some struggle related to their marriage they were sharing with me. It felt similar to the first encounter, but definitely not nearly as severe. Had a chance to pray and minister truth to them, which I heard an update that they are really working through things together and it sounds like they are on a good trajectory – praise the Lord. But Shana and I want to minister to them more.
  • an engaged couple we have been counseling broke off their engagement. This actually was a praise for us because 1 was a believer and 1 a non-believer, and we told them that the non-believer really needs to be in the Lord before the Lord could endorse their choice to marry. They agreed with us on that, but were hopeful he’d come around to surrendering his life to Christ before wedding date. Anyway, I’m glad they don’t have a wedding date anymore, so now he can truly pursue Christ on His merits alone (not with the backdrop of trying to do it to please his wife)
  • then, last night, I confessed to my wife that I was getting “too curious” about looking into the Will Smith – Jada Pinkett Smith “open marriage” specifics. It was a sort of thought porn, honestly…It led to a beautiful time of intimacy between us, honestly–praise the Lord! Then my wife had a dark dream last night that seemed a direct attack on our marriage union and intimacy together. We prayed about it and rebuked it.
  • All to say, definitely sense this as a theme for us lately. Something Satan is trying to sow division in, but we God is challenging us to uphold the unity of the marriage covenant.

Devotion to Christ

I totally agree with what is said above–that when we prioritize God and his mission our priorities tend to orient themselves in proper order.

I sometimes struggle with the practical application of how to put my devotion into action, as sometimes my natural tendency is to feel like I need to make huge life changes or large gestures that seem overwhelming. However, I am slowly learning that our devotion to the LORD is made up of many, many small decisions made everyday.
The bulk of our daily lives is what would be classified as “mundane,” and I think seeking God in the mundane is so important. I am often reminded of marriage in this context as well. A wedding day is a great event (kind of like a large gesture of devotion), but choosing to serve our wives everyday of our marriage (the mundane) is where devotion is really tested.

The end of Malachi sums this up somewhat subtly:

  • 4:2 “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.”
  • 4:4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.”

The law was given to his people to give them a framework of devotion in the mundane, daily routine of life.

Sonship & Service

I noticed the beginning and end of Malachi ties sonship with service to the Lord. Mal 4 – “son who serves”

This is different than slaves who serve for payment. Sons serve because it is right, it pleases their fathers, it brings honor to the family, there is fatherly discipline where they don’t, it is tied up with how they will steward the inheritance.

All to say, people who teach that being sons of God somehow absolves us from serving God don’t know the Scriptures.

We still serve him, but our inheritance and salvation isn’t dependent on how good we served. We can’t stop being sons—that is a work of God. John 1:12


These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Love the book of Zechariah!

We see a lot of similarities in Revelation as well. The main theme of the book is completing God’s temple at a time when they felt pretty defeated. This is pretty much spot-on the theme of Revelation as well, only the temple envisioned there is God’s people / bride. I think Zechariah points to this ultimate truth as well.

Zech. 1-3

  • Chap. 1 I was struck by the incompleteness of the first prophecy. It didn’t really instruct the people a ton except to say, your fathers disobeyed and God’s word prevailed. It wasn’t until a few months later that more revelation is given. Makes me think about being content to receive only partial messages from the Lord. We want the whole picture, but maybe He only shows us a part and we will get in trouble for extending it beyond that.
  • Chap. 1 I was also struck by the horsemen and horns that patrol the earth, with special attention to the lot of God’s people. It seemed the earth was pretty much at rest for 70 years, then they realized it needed to be shaken up because this would ultimately help God’s people prevail and God’s temple be rebuilt. What a word for our time! It’s been 77 years since WWII…the earth has seemed pretty at rest. But now things are starting to shake up with Russia-Ukraine. Hopefully it won’t be a full-blown war, but if it is, I’m thinking ch. 1 of Zech…God is stirring up the nations for the sake of growing his church.
  • Chap. 3 Love the picture of Joshua given new garments when accused by Satan (“The Accuser”). Also, love the reference to sins being forgiven in a single day. This goes so deep, and God shows us that when He talks about the men surrounding Joshua as signs that speak to things WAY BEYOND Joshua. He references “the branch” which, I believe, is a title for Messiah who would come later (see Jeremiah and Isaiah). I think we can all see where this is going — there is 1 Person who will stand against the accuser and give us new garments of righteousness when He puts away sin in 1 day. OH…and if that’s not clear enough, in ch. 6 God shows that the name of the One would later come matches the name of Joshua. Think about that for a moment…”Joshua” is the Hebrew form of “Yeshua” in Greek. Which is “Jesus” in English. Pretty incredible stuff here!!

Zech. 4-6 ~

Wow, again, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. I know I need to limit what I share, but it’s tough to choose–it’s all so good. Here are some highlights:

  • ch. 4 – for about 15 years now, this chapter has captivated a lot of my thoughts about what it looks like to partner with God in building up his church. It shows me that it’s not size or numbers that matter, nor is it human power that gets it done. Instead, it happens with the Spirit’s power and God’s grace as we work together.
  • ch. 5 – I love the visual for how sin is being totally subjugated and stuffed down, and left in Babylon (thus, the Israel’s leaving Babylon is like a new start…maybe like a baptism, if you will)
  • ch. 6 – I believe this chapter is a very rare and precious gem that I don’t hear many people talking about. But the gist is that there is a prophetic sign here. Namely, there will be a Messiah who will function as king and priest simultaneously (which only Jesus did). And His name will be “Joshua” (in the Hebrew). Which corresponds to “Yeshua” (Greek) / “Jesus” (English). So Jesus’ office and name was known 400+ years before He was born!!!! Only God could write this!!!! Even more, He will be exalted as king by people taken out of captivity. That’s all of us, brought out of our captivity to sin (just like the picture in ch. 5).

I just find these pictures so powerful. So much depth in so few words. Kind of like the parables of Jesus.

God’s Will

Looking this morning at 7:8 “render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil in your heart.”

And then….

8:16: “speak truth to one another; render in your gates judgment that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”

Sometimes we think God’s will is so elusive but verses like these spell out very clearly what he desires and what he hates. Maybe His will is not so elusive after all?

P.S. I know we often hear as believers “at least we know how it ends”…. This book really highlights that for me. The end of the book is amazing! 14:11 “and it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security.”

Similarly…I’ve thought a lot about how people want to know God’s will for their job, their spouse, their location…things like that. Yet God spends so little time talking about these things. He cares WAY more that our hearts are right before Him, and we honor Him in any job, spouse, location we have. I think the problem with people looking for “God’s will” in their life is that their priorities don’t start from Scripture. Start with God’s priorities, and you’ll realize He’s said A LOT on the things that really matter to Him. And He wants us to start thinking more about those things, and less about the things He spends little time mentioning.

What Does the Bible Say About Social Justice? (With Audio)

Audio of “What Does the Bible say About Social Justice?” (1.5 hours)
Venn Diagram of "social justice" versus "Biblical righteous/justice"

2 Cautions

  1. The phrase, “social justice,” is used 0 times in the Bible. No doubt some of the concepts people mean by “social justice,” are biblical, but there are many today who have attached very harmful and unbiblical meaning behind the words, “social justice,” as well. Christians should use caution in using this term, defining it very clearly if you need to use it.
  2. The gospel is the foundation of Christianity. It tells of a God who was unjustly treated by humans so that He could justly pay the penalty we deserved in his crucifixion–giving us grace and mercy instead of mere justice. This gospel must be our starting point, which tells us “justice” alone is insufficient, and even injustice can be used by the Lord for amazing things.

God’s Justice

“The righteousness of God has been manifested…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:21-26)

In this powerful paragraph, we see 7 references to the concept of “righteousness” / “justice”. In God’s economy, these words are joined together and even used interchangeably. In truth, many different Hebrew and Greek words are all translated as “justice”, “just”, “righteous”: tsaddiq (Hebrew), shaphat (Hebrew), din (Hebrew), yashar (Hebrew), dike (Greek), krino (Greek). And these don’t include the derivative words that also share the same root that points to “justice” / “righteous” by God’s definition.

This makes it difficult to give a concise definition of biblical justice. C.S. Lewis relates it to “fairness,” (Mere Christainity, 1952, p. 79), while the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary (2013) sees it as, “an embodiment of two contemporary concepts: righteousness and justice,” (see “Justice” entry), and Calvin Beisner recognizes that true justice must, “accord with the righteous standard of God’s moral law,” (“Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice, 2nd Ed.,” 2020).

However it is defined, the emphasis is clear that the standard of justice/righteousness must be God and His Word:

  • “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just” (Gen. 18:25)
  • “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice…just and upright is He.” (Deut. 32:4)
  • “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.” (Prov. 28:5)
  • “It is from the LORD that a man gets justice.” (Prov. 29:26)

And while the concept of, “justice,” is part of the “weightier” matters of God’s law (Matt. 23:23), this must always be held in tandem with attributes like mercy and grace (Micah 6:8; Matt. 23:23). In fact, we might consider that God tells us to, “do justice,” and, “love mercy,” showing that He wants us to especially cherish mercy, even while we need to uphold justice and righteousness. This matches his own character wherein, “mercy triumphs over judgment,” (James 2:13). 

And thus we return to the gospel where God:

  1. Had to act justly (even at the cost of His precious Son).
  2. Paid a higher cost to extend grace and mercy to all of us who are undeserving.

What Justice Isn’t

Recognizing that God’s justice (a) must be biblically defined, and (b) is reflected in the gospel, we can now consider what God’s justice isn’t.

Namely, God’s justice isn’t:

  • driven by emotion or anger (Prov. 6:30-31; Jer. 10:24)
  • determined by how “well-meaning” someone is (John 16:2)
  • self-seeking (2 Sam. 15:4; Luke 12:13-21)
  • seeking equal outcomes (Matt. 20:1-16; 25:14-30–even equal pay)
  • concerned with externals as much as intentions (Deut. 19:1-13)
  • determined privately or hastily (Deut. 19:15-21; 1 Tim. 5:19)
  • meant to be isolated from God’s mercy and love (Micah 6:8; Matt. 23:23; Rom. 3:21-26)
  • executed outside God’s authority (Lev. 19:18; Rom. 12:19-13:7–including delegated authorities)
    • Note: God’s authority includes Kings (1 Pet. 2:13-14–and other government leaders, over citizens), Shepherds (Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:5–i.e. church leaders over saints), Fathers & Mothers (Eph. 6:1-4–over children), Husbands (Eph. 5:22–over wives), Masters (Eph. 6:5–e.g. employers, over servants). But consider that God Himself is the “King of Kings, (1 Tim. 6:15), “Chief Shepherd” (1 Pet. 5:4), “Father” (Eph. 3:14), “Husband” (Eph. 5:23-24), and “Lord of Lords” / “Master” (Deut. 10:17; 1 Tim. 6:15). In other words, relative, delegated authority is always a pale comparison to God’s absolute authority (and should never be followed where they contradict God’s clear instructions).
  • hurting or killing the unborn (Exod. 21:22-25)
  • attainable outside of Christ’s Final Judgment (Ecc. 3:16-17; 5:8; Matt. 5:39; Rev. 6:9-11)
  • anything in conflict with His word and character

What Justice Is

In contrast, biblically-defined justice:

  • Is a “weightier” command (Gen. 18:19; Micah 6:8; Matt. 23:23-24)
  • Honors God, and thereby people (made in His image) (Exod. 20)
  • Accords with loving your neighbor as yourself = sacrificially showing God’s care (which accords with His word and character) to others (Matt. 7:12; Luke 10:25-37; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; Gal. 5:14; Eph. 5:25-30)
    • In the gospel, God’s ultimate love for us upheld his word/justice by sacrificing Christ, while extending forgiveness and blessing to those who repent and believe. For us to likewise love, we, too, should be sacrificial, uphold God’s word, extend God’s forgiveness and blessing–and especially to those willing to repent and believe.
    • Lev. 5:1; 19:11, 17; Eph. 4:25; Heb. 6:18; Rev. 21:8 – speak honestly and forthrightly 
    • Lev. 19:9-10; 1 Tim. 6:18 – be generous with God’s surplus
    • Lev. 19:11-13; Eph. 4:28 – don’t take what doesn’t belong to you
    • Lev. 19:14 – don’t add extra obstacles for the disadvantaged
    • Etc.
  • Comes alongside God’s mercy and love (Micah 6:8; Matt. 23:23; Rom. 3:21-26; James 2:13)
  • Treats claims of injustice as innocent until proven guilty (Deut. 19:15; John 7:51; 1 Cor. 13:7; 1 Tim. 5:19)
  • Is 100% impartial (Lev. 19:15; 24:22; Deut. 1:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:17)
    • Including ensuring the weaker are not unjustly treated (Deut. 10:18-19; 15:1-2, 4-5, 11; Job 31; Psalm 146:7-9; Is. 58:6-7; Ezek. 18)
  • Never seeks more than proportional retribution (Exod. 21:23-25; Matt. 5:38-39)
  • Renders back what people are due (Rom. 2:6-8; 13:2, 7)
  • Should be in the church primarily (Deut. 15; Matt. 25; Acts 2; 4; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 6:10; 1 Tim. 2:1-2)
    • Helps the widows and poor (especially believers), but in a way that empowers and benefits them, and doesn’t add too much burden to the church as a whole (Acts 6; 2 Thes. 3; 1 Tim. 5)
  • Needs the gospel, the Holy Spirit, and God’s word to faithfully implement (Isaiah 55:8-11; John 14-16; Titus 3:1-7)

Start with the Gospel

Not only is the gospel the focus and what is “of first importance,” (1 Cor. 15:3) to the Christian, but it also should be the starting point for considering and walking in all matters of the Christian faith (including that of justice).

For instance, notice how it applies to:

  • Luke 10:25-37: You witnessing an injustice. In that story, all barriers are broken as a sworn enemy of a certain group of people decides to show mercy. But consider that the “good Samaritan” saw the man “half dead” and sacrificed some of his money. Whereas Jesus saw us who were sworn rebels of His, fully dead in our trespasses, and yet offered His very life for us. You can’t improve on this gospel starting point for helping others suffering injustice around you.
  • Matt. 18:21-35; 1 Pet. 2:21-25: You suffering unjustly. Here, again, we are beckoned to look to the great debt Christ forgave us of in the gospel, and also follow his example in suffering unjustly on the cross. Turning our attention back to the gospel empowers us to forgive and to entrust God (not seeking personal retribution) when we suffer unjustly.
  • Rom. 3:26; 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:17: You as an authority presiding over alleged injustice. And lastly, if you are in a situation where you are the authority figure presiding over injustice, you do the best to see how God handled a similar situation in the gospel. There He couldn’t tolerate injustice/unrighteousness, even at the cost of His Son. In like manner, judge righteously even at great cost to you or your family. Further, He did look for ways to extend mercy and grace (while upholding justice), which also cost Him severely. May we–by the power of God’s Spirit–do likewise as gospel-people.


These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Haggai 1:7-9 has been speaking to me BIGTIME! I’ve shared it with multiple people since reading it yesterday morning.

It says:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.


  • Everyone is busy with their own house. I’ve thought about this over the years as speaking to us making an idol of family (which I think it definitely applies!). But this time around reading it, I also thought about it as sometimes how Christians might be getting too inwardly focused on their church (lowercase “c”) and missing the work to build up God’s Church (big “C”) all around. Or even it becomes just keeping up with status quo of “doing church” that misses opportunities to build up the church. Don’t misunderstand. A BIG part of building up God’s Church is growing and edifying each other in your own church. Just so long as you don’t miss the bigger church in your geography, and what it means to build that bigger church up. Next point…
  • “Go up into the mountains” – that is a LOT harder than going down a hill…or even walking on a level plane! LOL! Going up requires a special effort that fights against the force of gravity. Yet that’s what they were called to do.
  • “Bring down timber and build my house” – Again, back to point 1. If we ONLY try to build up existing believers around us we could be guilty of neglecting to look to God’s harvest all around and bring in new converts to Christ (like bringing down new timber). This is God’s charge to us, though: My church will be expanded to it’s full number through doing the hard work of looking for new believers who will help to expand the spiritual tabernacle of God (church with big C).
  • Though we fight gravity to build things God’s way (“go up into the mountains”), we fight God to build our things our ways. I’d rather fight gravity any day than fight God :slightly_smiling_face:

Struck also by Haggai 2:1-9..

just how God shaking the nations results in his kingdom growing… and look at 2:9–“in this place [his temple…ultimately points to His church] I will give peace”. I think that’s set as a contrast to the unrest in the nations. That the church is the place of peace between God and man, firstly. From that point it grows into peace between brothers and sisters. May we have eyes to see what He’s doing in the shaking happening around us.


These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Zeph 1 ~

I am struck by the inclusion of animals in God’s judgment: “I will sweep away both man and beast…birds in the sky…fish in the sea” (1:3). This is pretty tightly corresponds with other places in Scripture: consider the cattle are cursed when Adam sins (Gen. 3); land animals (except those spared in the ark) were killed in the flood; animals are part of the plagues in Egypt; animals are also part of the redemption: when lion will lie down with the lamb (Isaiah). Diff subject on the WHY behind animal inclusion (for a different time), but just wanted to note that it is there. It also gives further evidence that Adam and Eve’s sin introduced death to animals…which makes evolutionary or long-age scenarios of Genesis (where death is before Adam and Eve) difficult (or impossible?) to reconcile.

1:18 – their silver and gold can’t save them from God’s day of wrath. Think of this in light of 1 Pet. 1:17-21: “Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” In other words, though silver and gold cannot pay off God’s wrath, Jesus’ blood can. I continue to see the “Day of the LORD” predicted in the O.T. as being fulfilled firstly in Jesus’ day of death and sacrifice. But then later for all the world’s judgment (with wrath for those that did not accept God’s payment through Christ for our sins).

Zeph 2 ~

“O shameless nation [Israel]…Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land…perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD…” – there is a slight chance if God’s people repent that they won’t face His wrath…
“Gaza shall be deserted…Ashkelon…Ashdod…Ekron shall be uprooted” [land of Philistines]
“The seacoast shall become the possession of the remnant of the house of Judah” (v.7) – that is, the other nations will be judged, and the remnant of God’s people victorious. WOAH!! Did you see how everything is different from here on out?
I’m just amazed at the consistency here:
Ch. 1 – God judges his people
Ch. 2 – a remnant who seek Him may survive; God judges the nations; and the remnant actually thrives victoriously
It all looked like doom at the beginning. But then God’s grace comes in, and repentance and humility is met with kindness.

Reminds me of the gospel: first the bad news that we all deserve God’s wrath; then the good news that He provides a way of escape through Jesus taking the penalty; then the final judgment: where only the remnant who turned to Jesus remain eternally victorious

^^I continue to be amazed at how much the gospel “leaks into” all facets of the Bible. So consistent – this is clearly where God wants our attention drawn.

Zeph 3~

notice the contrast in 3:1-5 between the Lord and the people. Though the people are wicked, “The LORD within her is righteous” (v. 5). This is at the heart of the problem: God is mixing with unrighteous people, so to speak. And it He needs to clearly show that He doesn’t stand for all that (thus the judgment). I’ve heard it said before that revival happens when God realizes how badly the church has sullied his reputation, and wants to amend that (my paraphrase).
As shown elsewhere in the Scripture, the mark of a righteous man is that he accepts correction (vv. 2, 7). Not that he has all the answers, but is always soft and correctable.


These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Loving Habakkuk…

I really appreciate reading the back-and-forth between Habakkuk and God. Shows a certain amount of intimacy and honesty in all that.

I continue to take notice about the prophetic words being called “visions”: “The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.” (1:1)

Reading ch. 1 makes me think of current events with Russia, Ukraine, and the nations a bit uneasy about possible conflict coming. God speaks of the nations as evil, yet still uses them for his purposes (largely with an eye on dealings with his own people–and ultimately for the glory of His Son in the nations). May it be, Lord

Yes!! Also loving this short book. Reads very similar to Job to me (minus the friends) with the back and forth dialogue, Habakkuk not being able to understand the mind of God and then his prayer and acknowledgment of God in the end.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

Hab. 3:17-19

The scripture above at the end of the book/ his prayer was especially powerful to me! In this world we will have trouble but let us take heart for God has overcome the world. May we rejoice in the Lord whatever comes our way (even in seasons of pain and drought)

Also, loved the Lord’s response in chapter 2:

  • v3: “if it (vision) seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come. May we learn to WAIT!
  • v4: “the righteous shall live by faith.”

Great insights guys. I have noticed a consistent theme of justice in these OT prophetic books.

Habakkuk 2:12-14
“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
Similar to Micah 3, God hates dishonest gain and injustice. HE is in control, and ruler over all.

good word! it’s interesting to consider that “unjust” practices are directly in contrast with “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord”. In other words, if I’m getting the gist right, as the knowledge of God’s glory increases, injustice will decrease. And vice-versa.

This reminds me of 2 Peter where he talks about growing in your faith: “add to your faith virtue, and to virtue add knowledge” etc….in the context of 2 Pet. 1, all of that growth is centered on the knowledge of Christ and especially a focus on the gospel. As that increases, so are we changed

Inflation and Injustice

Sort of related to the issue of justice and Habakkuk…
I’m reading a really good pamphlet called, “Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice”. He has outlined 4 criteria of biblical justice:

  1. impartiality
  2. rendering to each his due
  3. proportionality (symmetry between the actual acts done and the rewards/punishments incurred)
  4. conformity to the standard of God’s word

And he gives LOTS of Scriptures to establish each point. It really is done very well, IMHO…But I have a question for all of us to ponder together…

In the middle of it, I read an interesting section where the author points out that one biblical example of injustice was diluting the purity of gold, silver, etc. yet claiming it was still fully gold and silver (he references Isaiah 1:21-26; Ezek. 22:17-22). This makes sense and puts it on the level of using “wicked scales” or “deceitful measures” (e.g. Micah 6:10-11). In other words, you are claiming something is worth X, but really you’ve diluted it so it’s worth less than X. So far so good.

But there’s a question I have here. Back in Roman times, as I understand, inflation was introduced into the economy because they diluted the gold used for coins so that they could make more money out of less gold (I’m embarrassed to admit, but here’s my reference for that LOL: This drove the prices of things up, because the government created more money than was really there. Thus, at it’s root, inflation is considered unjust (see Scriptures above). This is why the author goes on to say, “inflationary monetary policy” violates Isaiah 1:21-26 and Ezek. 22:17-22.

I believe he would say that printing more money than we actually should have in the economy, would also violate that principle. Since printing more money drives inflation. He’s saying that this breaks the justice principle of diluting gold and silver to make it SEEM more valuable than it really is.

Sorry if I totally lost you and that this is longer than I meant…but all to ask, what do you think? Is printing money beyond what you should (which is what happened since Covid in U.S., as I understand) an unjust practice according to God’s word?


I agree the inflationary policy has a tendency toward injustice. I believe the tradition of coins having ridges on their edge was an old school way of knowing whether coins had been shaved or “clipped.”

When confronting modern issues, whether they are social, financial, cultural, etc, I always end up back at Jesus. Without Jesus these problems are impossible and overwhelming. Jesus turns everything upside down when he tells us to follow him. Give away your money, love your enemies, be a servant to all, these were and still are radical instructions that actually give us freedom.

Hab 2~

Like is said above, I was also touched by Hab 2:4. Specifically, think of the backdrop: you have proud nations/people doing their things. They are compared later in the chapter to wines that are making people drunk. But in the midst of this you have simple, humble people exercising faith in God to walk righteously.

That has really spoken to me as I look at events in Russia/Ukraine escalating to who-knows-what. Proud nations/people doing proud things. But God is looking for simple, humble people to live by faith at these times.

I’d like to also add 2:18-20. There was a contrast there that really spoke to me:

  • In 2:18-19 you have people yelling at their idols who (obviously) can’t speak.
  • In 2:20 we are told to be silent before the Living God (who speaks).

Man, that right there is powerful. How much are we seeing people around us running their mouth about false gods. Meanwhile, how many people are humbly listening and reading God’s Word, and pointing to that (so He is the MAIN SPEAKER!)?

Habakkuk 3:17-18
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

This is joy vs. happiness. “American Theology” preaches happiness at all costs, but following Christ is different. The idea of joy and being content regardless of circumstance is such a countercultural idea.

Now I will say that I haven’t lived in a time of losing all but Jesus like this. But I pray and hope I affirm this the same (or more) if that ever does happen. And regardless of circumstances, this will be a posture of my heart!

Farming and God

Tangentially related (again):

Someone recently remarked to me how farmers tend to be more God-focused whereas the more you get into the city the more secularism creeps up. I think that could (or has) been backed up by data. But he surmised that it might have to do with how farming feels the dependency of God more (if there is a drought in an agricultural community, it’s a BIG DEAL…much more than if it happens in a city, for instance).


This seems very plausible to me. I think that farming and working the land requires a lot of cooperation from nature, and it would seem much more natural to relate to and rely on God for help in that profession.

I do feel that it is a bit more of a challenge to relate to God at a non-agrarian job, but God does indeed care just as much and is still totally in control.

A good friend and mentor of mine, Dave, taught me to keep a list of prayer requests that are solely related to my work. There are times at work where I feel stuck or totally buried under the weight of tough situations, and turning to God for help is the only thing that can bring peace. Prior to keeping a “work prayer list” my natural tendency would be to try to control everything to make it go my way, and I would end up frustrated and exhausted. Praying about my job has been an awesome reminder that God cares about my life, and he wants his kingdom to come on earth, which includes the little place that I work everyday.


These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

I’ve been reflecting a lot about how Nahum is addressed to Nineveh (just like Jonah was addressed that direction). It sounds like this rebuke came later than Jonah’s time (when they repented), and this was preparing Nineveh for the ultimate destruction they were getting.

But when considering the 2 books together I think about:

  • how God has not forgotten those who reject Him–especially those who mistreat His people. Consider how the sheep and goats parable of Matt. 25 focuses squarely on the treatment of Jesus’ brethren / His body.
  • along these lines, He first pleads with them to repent (think of Jonah), and will spare them if they do. But if they reject Him, this will show in their mistreatment of His people, and will lead to their ultimate destruction (see Nahum)
  • how God is involved with the affairs of the world (again, especially as it touches on His people) – here we have 2 Biblical books focused on an Assyrian city that rejects God thoroughly
  • how God uses the nations to discipline his own people, but then (when that time of discipline is completed), He turns and judges the nations. 1 Pet. 4 says FIRST God’s people receive judgment, but then AFTER the nations. Similarly, look at Isaiah 10:5-19. Remarkably, I just now noticed this, also, speaks of Assyria. Here they are compared to a rod used by God to “spank” / “discipline” his people. At first they had the upper hand, but they were cruel and were also to be held accountable, thus God turns and judges them next.

Love how ch. 1 in Nahum really speaks to so many facets of His character: He is a jealous and avenging God (2), slow to anger and great in power (3), good (7), a refuge (7), a stronghold in times of trouble (7)

3:7 “wasted is Nineveh”… makes me think hearing about their destruction about this empire once had it all in the worlds standards. many riches and lots of power. Yet, in the end, it’s all wasted and brought to destruction.

It’s interesting to read about these empires long after they’ve passed. At the time, these prophecies probably seemed crazy. Sort of like someone saying that America will be run down by wild animals. We’d say there’s no way! But sobering and good reminder to realize only the eternal actually last.

Ask Yourself…

We are told to not despise prophetic unctions, but also to test them and only hold fast what is true and good (1 Thes. 5).

I think this same principle can be applied to every claim that others make. There are lots of loud voices claiming God wants this or that. I sadly believe most of them are false (judging by the fact that throughout the Bible and history, it seems more false claims are made than true ones–and the true claims are usually the ones not celebrated in this lifetime). But I digress…

Whenever you hear a truth claim, I think it’s helpful to ask the following questions of the claim:

  1. How does the gospel speak to this claim?
  2. How humble am I to receive this claim as true (even if it differs from things I thought were true)? Even obey and teach it to others?
  3. What does the Bible say on this claim? Not just a couple verses here or there (though that can be helpful). But what does the full thrust and contours of God’s word say on this?
  4. What do Christians of integrity say on these matters? Now and throughout history
  5. Has God revealed other things on this matter in clear ways outside of Scripture? For instance, in creation, or via words or revelations elsewhere (though be careful here–distinguish what is ACTUALLY TRUE from what people interpret that fact to be). Also, hold all these things as less authoritative than the direct words of Scripture (which you also have to be careful in interpreting, and need humble hearts and the Spirit’s help).


These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Micah 6 stood out to me. In verses 11-16 the LORD describes a culture of corruption that has developed in Israel and how dishonest gain will ultimately not get them what they want.
6:14 “You will eat but not be satisfied;
your stomach will still be empty.
You will store up but save nothing,
because what you save I will give to the sword.”
This contrasts Micah 6:8 in which the LORD spells out his requirements for his people:
“To act justly and to love mercy and to and walk humbly with your God.”

Consider the mercy in God showing their corrupt ways aren’t satisfying: “You will eat but not be satsified.” He’s giving them a chance to repent. It’s a kindness when looked at that way.

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how the saddest thing in the world is someone who God allows to be comfortable and happy and at ease their whole life, satisfied by the world and the flesh, only to realize on judgment day how badly they missed the mark.

Makes me think of the C.S. Lewis quote about people are too easily satisfied by things that are wastes of time.
Though, in reality, I think God has hard-wired us to not be ultimately satisfied by anything but Him–so that nagging is in there by design to bring us to Him!


These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Jonah 1:5
“All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.”

“Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.”

Jonah is not the only one encountering God in this story. I thought it was cool how the sailors each cried out to their gods to no avail, but then they all experienced the true power of the LORD and became believers.

Jonah 2:8
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”
God’s grace and love is so much greater than anything this world can offer us.

I think the first thing that jumps out to me in Jonah is this phrase “The Lord appointed.” He appointed a great fish to shallow Jonah (1:17), He appointed a plant to come up over Jonah (4:6), He appointed a worm to attack the plant (4:7), He appointed a scorching east wind.

Of course, God then uses all this to aim to teach Jonah one of if not the central message of the book. He is ultimately in control and has compassion on who He wishes to have compassion on, and judges those who deserve judgment.

Also, 4:1-2 really were interesting verses to me. I do not think I ever realized just how selfish Jonah was, even after God’s mercy to him. He is angry about the Lord’s great compassion and steadfast love toward Nineveh even though the same love and mercy was just extended toward him.

I’m not sure why he said, “that’s why I made hast to flee to Tarshish (I guess because he knew the Lord would extend mercy and he did not want them to have any), followed by the request to take his life” (v 2 & 3)?! It seems odd I guess he would want to die because of God’s mercy and the fact he had actually just obeyed the 2nd time around…

love these insights – this book really speaks to me. here are a few thoughts:

  • there seems a strong contrast with Jonah (who is disobedient, while thinking he/Israel deserves God) and the sailors (who don’t follow God), the big fish (who clearly doesn’t follow God), and Nineveh (who are Assyrian and not following God)–yet the latter 3 are obedient and willing to turn to God and be used for His purposes. In other words, Jonah was a classic Pharisee (who was self-righteous while not realizing all the mercy he’d been given).
  • Related to #1… it says over and over (as stated above), “The Lord appointed” (or things like that). God appointed all sorts of things and they all were faithful to Him…but He appointed Jonah to preach, and he was the 1 person unfaithful to God’s appointment in the book. It’s like the joke is on Jonah all along, who thinks he’s so great and others are undeserving, but really he’s the one who is undeserving.
  • Related to #1 and #2… I think the greatest “prophetic warning” of the book of Jonah is how Israel/Jonah thought they were special because of their righteousness, but the world is more righteous than them. This is a call for Israel to repent.
  • Lastly, I think Jonah shows beautifully God’s heart to save the nations and show mercy, BUT it also shows God’s judgment and that He has clear protocol for reconciling to Him. He wants Nineveh to live, but they must repent or God will destroy them. In this way it’s a very powerful book to show people who think a loving God would never send people to hell. God does love, but always has standards of righteousness and true judgment against sin.