For BookLook Bloggers, I chose to read The Jeremiah Project Part One by A.J. Foltz. For agreeing to read the book in its entirety and posting a review of it on my blog and a commercial site, I was given a free ebook copy of the book.
Little background info here before I do the book review. God entered into a covenant with the Israelites when he brought them out of the land of Egypt where they had been slaves for 400 years. Moses led them out of Egypt to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants more than 400 years previously. Why God chose Abraham and why he chose to make him the father of the nation of Israel, I don't know, but that was God's plan. Israel is God's chosen people. Always has been so, always will be.
When God and the Israelites entered into the covenant, both sides agreed what they would do. God basically would give them the land he had promised, a land of milk and honey. He would provide for them and protect them. Israel was to basically obey God and his commands, to love God only, worship no other goods. Deuteronomy 28 lists the covenant and the penalties if broken.
Israel did get into the promised land, but wanted to be like the other nations around it. It started following other nations' gods, wanted a king like other nations, and made idols out of wood and stone. God gave them a king, but clearly did tell them what the king would make them do.
Through the years there was just a handful of good kings, i.e. those that followed God, obeyed his commands. David was the best of them in doing so. After his son's, Solomon's death the kingdom of Israel that had consisted of 12 tribes split, 10 became Israel and 2 became Judah. Over the next 400 years or so, there would never be a good king in Israel, Judah had just a few.
God would send prophets again and again to warn the people not to worship idols or other gods, but the people would halfheartedly obey or not obey altogether. Israel eventually went into exile, having been overthrown by the Assyrians. Judah remained free for a period of time. One of the punishments if Israel did not obey the covenant was exile. Finally after years of disobeying God despite warnings by prophets not to do so, God had reached his limit and Judah was overthrown by Babylon and taken into exile.
The book of Jeremiah tells the story and why Judah found herself at that point in her history to have her city Jerusalem destroyed and the temple made by Solomon completely destroyed.
Now on to the book review.
Mr. Foltz, the author of the Jeremiah Project Part 1, was on a search of Jesus through the Old Testament. As part of his search, he decided to write in his own handwriting word by word each of the prophet books located in the Old Testament. He started with the shorter books and worked his way up to the book of Jeremiah . He hadn't "found" Jesus a lot in the books he was researching this way, so when he got to Jeremiah he decided to change course and make it as a form of a Bible study with questions and answers and by doing so, he started finding Jesus through snapshots of words in the pages of Jeremiah that described who Jesus is.
His goal is for us who believe in Jesus to become avid believers who are effective for Christian mission.
The Jeremiah Project Part 1 is of the first 10 chapters of the book of Jeremiah and it is basically a Bible study. Each chapter is divided into 4 sections. He describes these as a specialty sandwich:
Prelude - introduction of chapter, described as first piece of bread for sandwich.
Chapter Study - going through each chapter verse by verse with questions aimed at those verses, described as meat, cheese, relishes for a sandwich.
Tag-Along - something to think about, described as bread on top of sandwich.
Scrapbook - a picture of Jesus in the form of words; described as fancy toothpick in sandwich.
It was his hope that by spending time in this study it would help people to understand why God doesn't stop all the "bad stuff" from happening in the world and by the end of the study, one would be able to come to a conclusion of why God does allow what he allows to happen in this world.
I absolutely loved this study, mainly because I find this particularly time in the Bible fascinating. Last year around this time I had on my own did a study of the different kings in Israel and Judah and had listed how long they reigned and whether they were good kings or not (good defined as those that followed God's commands). I also spent time reading the prophets that were prophesying during particular times of kings' reigns. So when I saw this book was available for review, of course it interested me to get it.
It was a very thorough study of the first 10 chapters of Jeremiah and included other books of the Bible as we studied this particular time as well as what brought Judah to the point where it was to be put into exile. Each chapter had multiple questions to answer from the verses.
I started the study the first part of June, working on it during the time I spend most days reading the Bible and praying. Because it was so conclusive of so much information, it took me about 7 weeks to finish the whole study. I think going at a pace of a chapter a week would be good, but I wanted to try to finish it in a timely manner since it was a book I was reviewing, but at the same time I wanted to take the time to do the study in a thorough manner.
I would highly recommend this book for someone who is interested in doing such a study . I would not recommend it for a small group to study unless people were committed to doing the work it required to get through a chapter a week, which I would think would be about 30-45 minutes daily devoted to the study on a weekly basis for the 10 chapters of the book. And definitely if someone is interested in this part of Israel's history, it is a good study with lots of questions answered and information given.