Let the Trial Begin (Malachi 1:1-5)

Israel has a checkered past and some struggles in their faithfulness to the Lord.  Now, Israel is in a place where she is sort of in the land, but not fully enjoying all the benefits of the Lord.  Israel wants to know if the Lord really loves the younger son, and so they ask the Lord if he really loves Jacob.  So, does the Lord love Jacob and how do we know?

Job's Righteousness and God's Judgment (Job 27)

Job is not done speaking and now he is one who affirms that God carries out His justice.  Job knows that God will judge the world, but Job carries a deep frustration within himself.  On the one hand Job knows the fate of the wicked, he knows that God judges the wicked, but Job’s punishment parallels the wicked’s life.  Job does not see how this can be reconciled.  So, how do we reconcile Job’s life with the Lord judging the wicked?

My Redeemer! (Job 19:1-29)

Job continues to consider his life, his struggle, and what he has become.  He has moved from a man who possessing great prestige in society, among the wealthiest, but has been reduced to one who hopes that there is someone who will take his case to the highest court.  In chapter 19 Job moves from one who hopes there is a lawyer/advocate who can plead his case to now clinging to a redeemer.  Why is this is a significant shift for Job?

The Horror of Sin’s Consequences (Micah 6:9-16)

Micah has warned the people of God that they are sinning against the Lord, and there is a serious consequence that is coming their way.  They have worshiped false gods and they find their comforts in the gifts of the Lord rather than the Lord Himself. In other words, they enjoy their elite blessings, but they have missed the Lord who gives them the blessings that they enjoy.  So, what is the ultimate consequence of their action?  Is the Lord being cruel in promising or bringing about such punishment?  What do we as a people learn from their experience and what exhortations come to bear upon us?

The Coming Pun-ishment (Micah 1:6-16)

The people of Israel are facing the wrath of the Lord that is coming against them.  They will experience this wrath, but what did they do that was so wrong?  Why does the prophet mention a series of place names that are difficult for us to pin on a map?  How do those cities communicate the punishment that is coming?  What is the hope in the midst of the promised punishment?  What could this punishment possibly teach us?

Living in the Last Days (2) (Mark 13:24-32)

Christ has talked about a life of suffering and struggle.  The reality is that it is not encouraging to to think that one can pursue the kingdom only to find that there is just more and more suffering in this world.  So, why continue if the Christian message seems to be suffer, then suffer some more, and then eventually die.  Is that really the message?  What is the comfort we take in the midst of the tragic day that happens in Jerusalem? How does that tell us this suffering will not always continue and be the thing that defines us?

When Will He Return? (Matthew 25:31-46; LD 19)

The million dollar question that is on everyone’s mind is, “When will He return?”  That is when is Christ going to come again?  I know when I say everyone’s mind this sounds like an overstatement, but even the skeptic wants an answer to this.  The skeptic is asking the question in a sarcastic way, but the fundamental desire is that the skeptic wants to visibly see Christ.  The problem humanity has is that we tend to think that the long delay of Christ’s return demonstrates that Christ is weak or that we are at least equals with Christ.  The skeptic is not scared, but more curious.  Unfortunately, many times as Christians we are scared of Christ’s return.  Why should we look forward to Christ’s return rather than dread it?

Beginning and Ending in Wisdom (Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:7)

The preacher is wrapping up his sermon on Solomonic wisdom.  The preacher is honest that we go through life and we experience the trials under the sun.  The preacher makes no mystery of the reality that we will experience many trials under the sun.  So, if we do suffer and experience pain under the sun then why do we continue to press forward?