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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 between the king and the people" (11:17). They proceeded to tear down the altar to Baal. In these two chapters we see two strong rulers, one of questionable character and the other of bad character, producing much violence and bloodshed. But the result is that the land is purified from Baal worship, and on the throne now in Judah is a righteous young king who was trained by a godly priest (12:2) rather than a pagan mother. Charles Spurgeon once said, "God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick." The Lord can use evil people to bring about his good plan. These evil people will still then be judged for what they did.     

REFLECT. One of my seminary professors used to say, "This is not the best of all possible worlds, but the best way to the best of all possible worlds" (Norm Geisler). The prophet Habakkuk complained to the Lord how unfair it was that the divine instrument for purifying God's people would be the despised, idolatrous Babylonians. Yet, Habakkuk learns that the Lord would use these invaders to accomplish his purpose, and then dispose of them forever. The prophet thus advises his hearers, "...the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him" (Hab 2:20). God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick. Do you believe this, that God is guiding history for his own glorious purposes and for the ultimate good of his people? 

===============  

2 Timothy 1.

"...an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus..." (2 Timothy 1:1)

LIFE IN JESUS. This is the last letter that we have from the Apostle Paul, written to his son in the faith, Timothy. It was penned about AD 67 during Paul's second Roman imprisonment and shortly before his execution under Nero. Like Paul, we have "the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus" (v 1). Now facing death, Paul knows that life, and his life, is wrapped up in Jesus. "In him was life..." (John 1:4), and in him we have eternal life. Paul came to faith on the road to Damascus, but Timothy came to that same faith through his upbringing by his mother and grandmother (v 5). At this time, he and Timothy are to trust God for power to be courageous in facing suffering (vv 6-8). The salvation for which they are suffering has been ordained for them since before the foundation of time: "...who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began..." (v 9). Paul is not ashamed, and neither should Timothy be (vv 8, 12). Timothy is to faithfully continue the work: "Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus" (v 13).

REFLECT. Usually, a person's last words have a gravity and seriousness to them. The first thing we note in this letter is Paul's confidence. He is not ashamed, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (v 7). There is no panic here, no doubt, no hesitation -- "I know whom I have believed..." (v 12). Do you and I have such confidence? Are we ready to face the future, whatever it holds? (Knowing, of course, who it is who holds the future...)

I know not what of good or ill
may be reserved for me,
of weary ways or golden days,
before his face I see.
But "I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able
to keep that which I've committed
unto him against that day."

Hymn author: D. W. Whittle   


Image credit. My photo of sunrise through the trees in Prices Fork, VA. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.


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