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Showing posts from October, 2020

bible reading weekend oct 31

Bible reading for weekend October 31 -- Nov 1.  2 Kings 13-14. "Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the LORD, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them." (2 Kings 13:4)  MIXED REVIEWS. We continue reading the alternating accounts of kings, north and south, most of whom do poorly. (The King Joash of 13:10-13 is a different Joash than the king of Judah, btw.) And those rulers who did better still get a mixed review.  King Amaziah of Judah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (14:3), but he did not remove the high places, and his pride got the better of him by inciting a battle with Israel. Yet the Lord still had mercy on his people and answered their prayer (13:4). There is an ongoing reminder in these chapters that God preserves his people: "But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy

bible reading oct 30

Bible reading for October 30.  2 Kings 12. "Then they would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the LORD. And they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the LORD..." (2 Kings 12:11)  HIGH PLACES. As we proceed through 2 Kings the accounts will alternate back and forth between the southern kingdom (Judah; capital: Jerusalem) and the northern kingdom (Israel; capital: Samaria). The "high places" (v 3) were regional places of worship, scattered throughout the land. These locations might be on the high point of a hill, or under a grove of trees, or at some convenient place where people could come and give offerings without having to travel to Jerusalem. It decentralized worship, making it easier, and thus detracted from worship at the temple in Jerusalem. It also opened the door for the introduction of idolatry on those sites, making the high places a sort of one-sto

bible reading oct 29

Bible reading for October 29.  2 Kings 10-11. "Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel." (2 Kings 10:28)  STRAIGHT LINES, CROOKED STICKS. There's a lot of bloodshed in these two chapters, primarily of the royal sons in both Israel and Judah. Jehu cleans house in the northern kingdom, destroying all the priests and loyal worshipers of Baal. In the south, Athaliah (a sort of "Jezebel of Judah") kills the royal line in Jerusalem, except one. The young heir, Jehoash (short form: Joash), is rescued and hidden. After six years, Jehoiada, the priest loyal to the Lord and the king, installs Joash on the throne. (Btw, the Carites [or, Cherithites] in 11:4, 19 were a contingent of bodyguards organized by King David and loyal to his family line.) Queen Athaliah, the fake monarch, is killed. There is a renewal in Judah of worship to the Lord: "And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people, that they should be the LORD's people, and also betwee

bible reading oct 28

Bible reading for October 28.  2 Kings 9. "And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD." (2 Kings 9:7)  IS IT PEACE?   Two kings and one queen will die in this chapter. "Is it peace?" is asked twice (vv 22, 31). Jehu answers, "What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?" (v 22) It's a brutal and grisly ending to their reigns. The irony is that Jezebel, hearing that Jehu was on his way, had just finished putting on her make-up (v 30) when she is thrown down and eaten by dogs. Jezebel has become a symbol of seduction, immorality, and idolatry (Rev 2:20). She is a kind of foreshadowing of the great prostitute in Revelation 17. She apparently used her beauty (and influence) to manipulate, deceive, and lead a nation astray. She murdered God's prophets, and led Ahab (a

bible reading oct 27

Bible reading for October 27.  2 Kings 8. "Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever." (2 Kings 8:19)   GOD'S TIMING AND PURPOSE. The Shunammite woman left her land for a season, but returns and receives her property back in a remarkable, providential timing (vv 1-6). Then the sad story of Elisha, Ben-Hadad, and Hazael (vv 7-15).  Jehoram becomes a wicked ruler over Judah, much like the kings of Israel. Edom rebels against Judah and Jehoram dies after an eight-year reign. Ahaziah becomes king in Judah (the south), ruling only one year. And Joram (the north) gets injured in battle with Syria. For all their alliances and military power, the two nations, Judah and Israel, are not faring well. We catch a glimpse of God's purpose in preserving Judah: it is for the sake of King David, to give a lamp to his lineage until the Light of the world would come. This Lamp, of co

bible reading oct 26

Bible reading for October 26.  2 Kings 7. "Then they said to one another, 'We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household.'" (2 Kings 7:9)  DAY OF GOOD NEWS. This chapter concludes the story begun in the previous chapter. Samaria has become desperate by the famine caused by the siege of the Syrian army. The unnamed king, likely Joram (cf 8:16), is wearing sackcloth (to symbolize repentance) but is also blaming Elisha for the situation. Elisha proclaims God's word that conditions will completely reverse overnight (v 1). A second pronouncement is made to the captain who said it would be impossible (v 2). (His unbelief reminds me of 2 Peter 3:3-10.) God's word comes to pass just as it was pronounced (vv 16-17). This is a reminder that God's pronouncement regarding the future is not merely foresight of "

bible reading oct 24-25

Bible reading for weekend October 24-25.  2 Kings 5-6. "So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." (2 Kings 5:14)  NAAMAN'S HEALING (ch 5). Leprosy was a dreaded and chronic skin disease that rendered a person defiled in the eyes of their community. In Israel lepers had to live  away from their towns and families, practicing social distance, literally. They were considered by many to be the living dead. Jesus not only spoke healing to, but also touched the lepers (Luke 5:13). Naaman, a gentile official from a pagan nation, comes to Elisha and humbles himself to obey a simple command. He is miraculously and instantly healed. Gehazi, though he served Elisha, seeks to enrich himself from this healing, and tries to deceive both Naaman and Elisha. The gift of healing was just that, a gift, and not a commodity for sale. Those who preach th

bible reading oct 23

Bible reading for October 23.  2 Kings 4. "So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, 'Bring me another vessel.' And he said to her, 'There is not another.' Then the oil stopped flowing." (2 Kings 4:5-6) SUPERNATURAL SUPPLY . We read of four remarkable miracles in this chapter. The "sons of the prophets" (v 1) were the disciples who followed and studied under the prophets (v 38). These miracles are similar, but not exactly, to Elijah's in 1 Kings 17. And these look forward to (foreshadow), even more amplified, the miracles of our Lord in feeding the multitudes, raising the dead, and giving children back to parents. He said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). These miracles also teach us of God's continued, ongoing care for us. He provides what his people need, and more. The p

bible reading oct 22

Bible reading for October 22.  2 Kings 3. "This is a light thing in the sight of the LORD. He will also give the Moabites into your hand..." (2 Kings 3:18)  SOMETIMES THERE ARE NO WINNERS. As a pastor I would often be called upon to help others resolve conflicts, whether in their marriages, families, businesses, or church relationships. Sometimes I found situations where nobody was in the right. Each party might feel justified in their position and want to win their case. But at times, well, you just wanted to throw all the bums out. (So to speak!) Israel's war against Moab is perhaps a case in point. The Moabites were an idolatrous people who often harassed their neighbors. Their chief god was Chemosh, but they also worshiped Molech and Baal, among others. As seen in this chapter Moabites could resort to human sacrifice. It was God's will that they be subjugated and the land be rendered infertile. (Moab's wealth and power came from their sheep industry.) The Moa

bible reading oct 21

Bible reading for October 21.  2 Kings 2. "Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, 'Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?' And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over." (2 Kings 2:14)  CHARIOTS OF FIRE. There are many curious features about this chapter, and questions: why does Elisha ask for a double portion of Elijah's spirit? Why does Elijah keep putting Elisha off? Why does Elijah get to go directly to heaven? What's with the fiery chariots and horses? This is history, not a vision. And, no, these were not spaceships. People of that day knew what horses and chariots looked like. (They will be seen again in 6:17.) Apparently, Elisha aspires to a double portion of God's power which was upon Elijah. He's tested in this regard, and his tenacity is rewarded.  Elisha will in fact perform more miracles than did Elijah.   Parting the waters of

bible reading oct 20

Bible reading for October 20.  2 Kings 1. "Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, "O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight." (2 Kings 1:13)  THE KINGS, VOLUME 2. The succession of the kings of Judah and Israel continues, opening here around 850 BC. Elijah will soon complete his service, and his successor Elisha will continue the prophetic ministry to Israel. In chapter one we see that Ahaziah, Ahab's son, follows in the ways of his fathers and seeks guidance from false gods. We also learn from these events how not to approach God's prophets, and so the third captain comes humbly. But Elijah must still pronounce judgment, and King Ahaziah dies after a very brief reign.  REFLECT. Where do I seek guidance on how to live? Do I go to the world and its pundits? Do I consult m

bible reading oct 19

B ible reading for October 19.  1 Kings 22. "And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, 'There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.' And Jehoshaphat said, 'Let not the king say so.'" (1 Kings 22:8) THE DRAMA. Sometimes life gets complicated. Why is Jehoshaphat so friendly with Ahab? Why does Micaiah at first not tell the truth? Why does God approve of the lying spirits? In trying to explain this passage I decided to put it in the form of a skit that could be used, say, at a youth meeting:   Scene I: Ahab's court . Ahab: "Jehoshaphat, come go to battle with me against Syria." Jehoshaphat: "OK, I got your back, bro."  Ahab: "All the prophets say we've got a green light on this. It's victory all the way!" Jehoshaphat: "Uh, do you have, like, any true prophets of the Lord around here?" Ahab: "Just

bible reading weekend oct 17

Bible reading for weekend October 17-18.  1 Kings 20-21. "And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, 'Thus says the LORD, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the LORD.'" (1 Kings 20:13) TWO VICTORIES (ch 20). On two desperate occasions, with Israel being greatly outnumbered, God gives military victory to Ahab and his troops. "You shall know that I am the Lord" (20:13, 28). In the previous chapter the Lord had shown himself to be the true God, and here twice he shows himself strong on behalf of Israel. Yet Ahab does not really have a heart to obey the Lord. And obedience to the Lord is imperative. Ahab shows mercy where he should bring judgment. It is not that Ahab is compassionate, he is basically a compromiser. There's a lesson here for us in this age of tolerance -- we cannot pronounce judgment when we should be merciful (Matt 7:1-5), but neither sho

bible reading oct 16

Bible reading for October 16.  1 Kings 19. "And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" (1 Kings 19:13) FROM FAITH TO FEAR. Elijah goes from a mountain-top experience of great success, down to the pit of fear and despair, because of Jezebel's threat. And the threat was real. Who knew that God's prophets could go through such ups and downs? So Elijah flees to Mount Sinai, many miles to the south in the wilderness. The Lord sustains him through the journey. He is going back to the place where God gave his law and promises, where God's power and glory had been manifested centuries before, and where the nation was founded. Twice the Lord will ask him, "what are you doing here, Elijah?" In other words, why have you come? This is not an indictment, but an invitation to speak and to plainly state his pro