Daily Encouragement

August 10 – Did God order mass divorce?

August 10
Ezra 10:1-44
1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Psalm 31:9-18
Proverbs 21:3

Ezra 10:3 – Is God ordering mass divorce? In today’s culture we are told “love is love” – but Luke 10:27 reminds us the first commandment is to love God, then to love our neighbor. Sometimes following God will cause family division (Matthew 10:35). Joshua had warned the people of the curse following religious intermarriage (Joshua 23:12-13). Ezra is hyper-sensitive to violations of the law – because this is the precedent setting time! Ezra is establishing patterns that will be followed for the next 500 plus years until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He is afraid that if the people fail at the start – how can the nation continue? Notice also that animals died for this sin (Ezra 10:19).

“First, the wives in the OT were not just “unbelievers” who were “willing” to be “sanctified” by the believing husband (1 Cor. 7:14). They were “pagans,” that is, they were probably Babylonian idol worshipers (cf. Neh. 13:25–26), who were having a pagan influence on their husbands. ” –DefendingInerrancy

“there are heart-breaking temporal consequences associated with wrongdoing, to say nothing of the potential eternal penalty.” ChristianCourier

“the special instructions to divorce non-believers in Ezra 10 must be understood from an exceptional, nationalistic circumstance during a most critical time under Jewish law and should not be looked at as objective moral law especially when considering the totality of the Bible (See: 1 Cor. 7:12ff; 1 Pet. 3:1ff).” KevinPendergrass

Ezra 10:10

1 Corinthians 6:1 – This idea has been a historical part of the American legal system. Other religions adopt similar systems – see Sharia Tribunals, Rabbinical Courts, and Christian Panels. From the Santa Clara Law Review:

At present, in the United States, agreements to arbitrate a dispute before a religious tribunal are generally enforceable in civil courts, as are awards made by religious arbitral tribunals… A Boston town in 1635 laid down an ordinance that no congregation members could litigate unless there had been a prior effort at arbitration.

1 Corinthians 6:7 – Paul says that even though we have a right to “religious arbitration” – are we willing to suffer temporally, because we shall inherit the Kingdom? (1 Corinthians 6:9).

1 Corinthians 6:11 – The encouragement following a list of convicting sins – such were some of you!

1 Corinthians 6:15-16 – Paul might have been thinking about the sins of Ezra’s day just 500 years prior. How can a follower of the LORD unite with someone following another god? Our bodies are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Psalm 31:9 – The miserable man makes much of mercy, because He trusts in God (Psalm 31:14)

Proverbs 21:3 – Samuel has stated this before (1 Samuel 15:22). God does not believe that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.

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Daily Encouragement

August 9 – Faith that says “I don’t need a life jacket?”

August 9
Ezra 8:21-9:15
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Psalm 31:1-8
Proverbs 21:1-2

Ezra 8:22 – Ezra was faced with a tension – accept the gracious offer of the king to provide protection, or allow God to protect them as they travel with over $100 million of gold not counting the silver (Ezra 8:26). Hudson Taylor once refused to wear a life jacket on a boat because he thought it showed his faith in God. Should we refuse to wear lifejackets as well? How are we to balance keeping our faith in God and exercising reasonable care?

First, note that Elijah fasted and prayed about this decision (Ezra 8:23). Keep in mind that this was someone that God was willing to be intreated of (Psalm 66:18). If we’re not living for the LORD we should be hesitant to claim we heard a command from the LORD.

Second, Ezra learned the lesson of Hezekiah and Sennacherib in 2 Kings 18:15 – trust God first or soldiers won’t help you (Psalm 127:1). His decision was a response to a specific problem in Israelite history, not a general disregard of human precautions. God blessed this decision (Ezra 8:31).

Third, Ezra who was demonstrating his trust in God (see today’s reading in Psalm 31), took a very human precaution of auditing the treasure. Not because the transport team was untrustworthy, but to a) protect their reputation, b) deter temptation, and c) ensure they focused on the goal for the team instead of personal enrichment. Similar to a church treasurer who completes a deposit slip with the rest of the finance team, then is dispatched to the bank to deposit the bag, and then the church auditor reconciles the deposit slip with the deposit receipt to make sure nothing happened to the money en route. Ezra found trustworthy men (Ezra 8:24), weighed the gold (Ezra 8:25), documented the weights (Ezra 8:26-27), charged the trustworthy men with the sacred trust (Ezra 8:28) and scheduled an audit in Jerusalem (Ezra 8:29). While today’s treasurer might pocket some loose change en route, the big danger in times past was debasement – Roman emperors would reduce the silver content of coins thinking people wouldn’t notice. Archimedes famously developed a test to ensure the gold in the crown wasn’t diluted. Here, the chapter concludes with the auditing in Ezra 8:33-34.

Back to Hudson Taylor:

Later he realized that was wrong thinking and wrote, “The use of means ought not to lessen our faith in God; and our faith in God ought not to hinder whatever means He has given us for the accomplishment of His own purposes…When in medical or surgical charge of any case, I have never thought of neglecting to ask God’s guidance and blessing in the use of appropriate means…to me it would appear presumptuous  and wrong to neglect the use of those measures which He Himself has put within our reach, as to neglect to take daily food, and suppose that life and health might be maintained by prayer alone” (p. 99). He was later said to be “a man of prayer, but it was prayer associated with action…’He prayed about things as if everything depended upon the praying…but he worked also, as if everything depended upon the working’” (p. 329).

Ezra 9:1-2 – Ezra, whose father was executed by a pagan king in a pagan land as part of God’s judgment on the sins of Israel, knew sin could not be tolerated. They were commanded not to defile themselves with the Canaanite et al practices (Leviticus 18:24). They were commanded not to associate with them but to drive them out (Deuteronomy 7:1) and show no mercy.

Ezra 9:6 – Ezra’s prayer of contrition – recognizing his lowly position (Psalm 40:17), and the vastness of his sins (Psalm 51:3). He cites the very command they have broken (Ezra 9:11-12 / Deuteronomy 7:3). Ezra refuses to allow people to make the same mistake Solomon made (1 Kings 11:1-2).

1 Corinthians 5:1 – Speaking of sin in the camp – Paul commands a harsh penalty (1 Corinthians 5:5) for sinners and disapproval for those who tolerated it (1 Corinthians 5:2, 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 5:9).

1 Corinthians 5:10-12 – We’re not to avoid those who sin – just those who claim to be washed of their sin in the blood of the Lamb and yet persist in the sin that nailed the Lamb to the Cross! God will take care of sinners, we must take care of our brothers so-called.

Psalm 31:1 – The Psalmist is declaring what Ezra believed – we can trust in the LORD and be delivered! He has delivered us from our enemies!

Proverbs 21:1 – The Lord changed the heart of the king from Ezra 4:21 to Ezra 6:7. God can still change hearts even today!

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Daily Encouragement

August 8 – Why does Ezra’s father sound familiar?

August 8
Ezra 7:1-8:20
1 Corinthians 4:1-21
Psalm 30:1-12
Proverbs 20:28-30

Ezra 7:1 – Don’t gloss over this genealogy! Who is Seraiah? The last high priest of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:18, Jeremiah 52:24). They were executed as vanquished leaders (2 Kings 25:21, Jeremiah 52:27) by the Babylonians. But God has exercised judgment on the Babylonians and the Persians are in charge and they have a much different attitude to Ezra than to his father.

Ezra 7:5 – Remember Phinehas the Bold? Yes we have his descendant with us. Ezra the scribe, birthed to be high priest, descended from the valiant, studied in the law, favored by the king.

Ezra 7:9 – Ezra was in a 4 month long wagon train with thousands of his kinfolk, and we complain about rush hour traffic, delays boarding our seat on a plane, or flying international in just economy!

Ezra 7:10 – Great verse to memorize and to apply!

  • Seek it (Josiah upon discovering the law – 2 Kings 22:8-10)
  • Do it (James 1:22 – Doers of the Word, and not hearers only)
  • Teach it (1 Timothy 4:11 – These things command and teach)

Ezra 7:15 – Five  surprising things in the Royal Letter:

  • The king is giving to the God of Israel silver and gold (Ezra 7:15)
  • The king is not specifying what can be purchased (Ezra 7:18)
  • The king is giving a blank check (Ezra 7:20, Ezra 7:22)
  • The king is giving tax exemption (Ezra 7:24)
  • The king is establishing a theocracy (Ezra 7:26)

1 Corinthians 4:7 – “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” Everything we have is from God – why are we boasting in what we have and comparing ourselves?

1 Corinthians 4:10 – What does Christian love entail (John 13:34)? Appearing foolish, appearing weak, being despised, hungering, thirsting, being naked, beaten, homeless, earning your own pay, reviled, and persecuted, and giving their best (Timothy – 1 Corinthians 4:17). This is the love of their spiritual father, Paul (1 Corinthians 4:15).

Psalm 30:4Sing to the Lord and Be Not Silent is based on Psalm 30:4-5.

Proverbs 20:28 – Solomon wrote out instructions for his son, Rehoboam, but Rehoboam ignored them (1 Kings 12:11).

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Daily Encouragement

August 7 – Authority from God changes the heart of a King!

August 7
Ezra 4:24-6:22
1 Corinthians 3:5-23
Psalm 29:1-11
Proverbs 20:26-27

Ezra 5:11 – Who said you could build this? Interesting the response back – “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth” – not just a regional territorial god, but the God of all that is on earth and all that is above the earth!

Ezra 6:7 – The Israelis knew they had

  • authority from God (Ezra 5:11)
  • atonement for their fathers (Ezra 5:12), and the
  • auspice of Cyrus to build!

God used the researchers of Babylon (Ezra 6:1-2) to find the records and confirm His will!

Darius

  • protected them from interference (Ezra 6:7)
  • provided the resources needed, and
  • proferred the sacrifices.

Was he a devout believer? No but he had enough issues without ticking off whoever this “God of heaven” is.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 – Just as God was the confidence of the Israeli’s, He is the giver of increase to the Christian. Our enemy is not Team Apollos or Team Paul, but the world, the flesh, and the devil. Apollos and Paul are “labourers together” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

1 Corinthians 3:13 – The Bema Seat that we read about in Romans 14:10 is discussed here. What will be revealed is what has been done not in the economy, not in the political world, but what has been built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ! Rewards and losses will be measured out as the fire tests our work.

Psalm 29 – Notice the structure of the Psalm – two “Give unto the LORD”, 3 “voice of the LORD,” a center keynote, 3 “voice of the LORD’, followed by two descriptions of the LORD. A modified chiasm. In v.1-2 we give strength to Him, in v.10-11, He gives strength to us! What an amazing God we serve!

Proverbs 20:26 – For those wanting to keep religion out of politics – we need some good leaders who will follow Proverbs. The good ruler does not let the wicked take over his city. You may not be a ruler of a city, but if you are a leader in your family, do not let the wicked take over your family!

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Daily Encouragement

August 6 – A ragtag band turns down ecumenical unity, and suffers…

August 6
Ezra 3:1-4:23
1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4
Psalm 28:1-9
Proverbs 20:24-25

Ezra 3:2 – This “3 Chronicles” (because it picks up right where 2 Chronicles ends) is a rebuilding – and emphasizes the obedience of the people. “As it is written in the law of Moses,” “After the ordinance of David” (Ezra 3:10).

Ezra 3:12 – From Ellicott:

This most affecting scene requires the comment of Haggai 2:3 and Zechariah 4:10. The first house was destroyed in B.C. 588, fifty years before. The weeping of the ancients was not occasioned by any comparison as to size and grandeur, unless indeed they marked the smallness of their foundation stones. They thought chiefly of the great desolation as measured by the past; the younger peoplc thought of the new future.

Ezra 4:2 – Esar-haddon was the son of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:37). After the Northern Kingdom was wiped out, the new settlers were brought in and were judged by the LORD (2 Kings 17:25), so presumably Esar-haddon sent a priest to teach them how to fear the LORD (2 Kings 17:28), but they didn’t stop serving other gods (2 Kings 17:32-34). The LORD isn’t just another idol for the shelf of gods, He is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). And we are commanded to separate from false believers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Ezra 4:5 – One of the earliest references to a special interest lobbyist in the Bible.

Ezra 4:6 – Is this why Esther was afraid to let Ahasuerus know she was a Jew? (Esther 2:10).

Ezra 4:23 – Did ‘legalistic obedience’ to the command to separate cost the Jews their city walls? Did the enemies use of special interest lobbyists end the hope of an reconstructed Israeli settlement? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s reading!

1 Corinthians 2:6 –  Paul has the answer – the world’s wisdom comes to nought, but God’s wisdom is superior!

1 Corinthians 2:14 – Why is it so hard for unbelievers to see the joys of serving the LORD? Because it appears as foolishness. There are two spirits – the spirit of the world and the spirit of God (v. 12). And the spirit you have determines what you see and receive.

1 Corinthians 3:1 – In spite of this teaching on the revelation we have from the Spirit of God, Paul says that we are carnal (1 Corinthians 3:1), and not able to bear the meat of the word (1 Corinthians 3:2). We who have the power of the Spirit of God are using the Spirit of the World!

Psalm 28:1 – Ah the words which would have saved countless heartache to the “good kings” and would have saved the “bad kings” – crying out to the LORD! When we cry, we will be able to rejoice (Psalm 28:6-8) in that He hears us!

Proverbs 20:24 – Echoing Proverbs 16:9, Solomon shows the LORD’s knowledge supercedes mere earthly wisdom/knowledge. From the Pulpit Commentary:

If man cannot see all sides, as God does, cannot comprehend the beginning, middle, and end in one view, how then can a man (a weak mortal) understand his own ways. How can he find out of himself whither he should go, or what will be the issue of his doings (comp. Proverbs 16:25Jeremiah 10:23)?

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Daily Encouragement

August 5 – Unearthed in London: Cyrus’ Unusual Proclamation!

August 5
Ezra 1:1-2:70
1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5
Psalm 27:7-14
Proverbs 20:22-23

Ezra 1:1 – Most kings don’t liberate their subjects – like Rehoboam they tend to up the ante (1 Kings 12:11), but Cyrus brought in a unique policy. It was so unique that many people doubted that such a king would fund the construction of a foreign deity’s temple…. until something showed up in London that had been unearthed in Babylon 130 years ago.

In the British Museum you can see the Cyrus Cylinder, that features a similar proclamation to other people groups. (Some people may say that this cylinder contradicts Ezra in that Ezra appears to be exclusively Jewish liberation. Ezra does not say no other peoples were liberated – similar to Ross Perot’s On Wings of Eagles, sometimes to free one person from jail, one has to free everyone from the jail).

Cyrus_Cylinder_front
The Cyrus Cylinder

…whose sanctuaries had been abandoned for a long time, I returned the images of the gods, who had resided there [i.e., in Babylon], to their places and I let them dwell in eternal abodes. I gathered all their inhabitants and returned to them their dwellings….

Ezra 1:11 – Note that the Ark of the Covenant is not included. We saw it mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35:3 – but as our good brother Dexter Penwell pointed out, the text does not say that the command was completed. Interestingly Josiah didn’t use the phrase “Ark of the Covenant of the LORD” but “the holy ark.” The “Ark of the Covenant of the LORD” was last mentioned in the time of Solomon in 2 Chronicles 5:7. We will see a curious mention of the Ark of the Covenant in Jeremiah 3:16.

Ezra 2:64-65 – The seventy years of captivity are over (Jeremiah 25:11-12). We’ve just read the list of the almost 50,000 heroic pilgrims who left the big cities of Babylon to return to Canaan. In a similar trek that Abraham took, leaving Ur of the Chaldees for Hebron, these pilgrims leave Babylon for Jerusalem, following the Lord’s command (Jeremiah 29:10). Not the beautiful city of the past, but the burned out, overgrown capitol with destruction where was the temple.

1 Corinthians 1:18 – What kind of message is it to tell people established in an affluent cosmopolitan city to abandon it for a place that God has supposedly told you? It sounds like foolishness. The message today is we’re leaving our impressive cities and comforts for a home up in the sky! We are to abandon laying up treasures on earth and start laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). Our friends think we’ve lost 100% of the money that we’ve given to the Lord, but we’re offered a 100-fold return (Mark 10:30).

Yes we see the word “Foolish” 6 times in this passage. Earthly wisdom says the only things for sure is death and taxes, so get a good profession and make some money. Thus “not many wise men” are called (1 Corinthians 1:26). We do not have earthly wisdom – we have the wisdom of Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30). We cannot glory on our own (1 Corinthians 1:29), but in the LORD! (1 Corinthians 1:31). Paul came in weakness of self but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5).

Psalm 27:9 – Where do we find our salvation? In God who will take us in when our earthly parents believe we have embraced foolishness (Psalm 27:10). Yes, if we want His blessings we need to seek Him (Psalm 27:8).

Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord (from our good friend Patch the Pirate!)

Proverbs 20:22 – Speaking of waiting on the Lord, Proverbs reminds us again!

Proverbs 20:23 – Sound familiar? This is the third iteration of this command (Deuteronomy 25:13, Proverbs 20:10, Proverbs 20:23).

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Daily Encouragement

August 4 – The Burning & Rebuilding of the Temple

August 4
2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23
1 Corinthians 1:1-17
Psalm 27:1-6
Proverbs 20:20-21

My apologies for going long here – but we are covering one of the most fascinating centuries in the Bible in one day! Buckle up and let’s go!

2 Chronicles 35:1 – Josiah kept the Passover. Why is this detail included? This and Hezekiah’s Passover (2 Chronicles 30:1) are the only two Passovers mentioned in 2 Chronicles. Keep in mind this is the 18th year of Josiah’s reign. The boy King is now 26 years old. It has been 20 years since Manasseh presumably held a Passover, and 75 years since Hezekiah held a great Passover. The Post-Exilic people who have returned to the land will have held the first official Passover in the land in over 70 years as well. Though we stray from the LORD, the LORD will hear us when we call to Him!

2 Chronicles 35:3 – For those who are curious where the Ark is today, another mystery is where was the Ark before Josiah moved it back into the Temple?

2 Chronicles 35:7 – Josiah gave 33,000 bullocks, compared to Hezekiah who only gave a thousand bullocks (2 Chronicles 30:24). Perhaps that’s why the Chronicler says it was the greatest Passover since Samuel the Prophet (2 Chronicles 35:18).

2 Chronicles 35:25 – Why did Jeremiah weep? Because in less than twenty five years the Southern Kingdom of Judah would be no more. The next chapter will go quickly through many names. But add up the dates – within one generation Josiah’s great Kingdom will collapse.

end of the South
Author’s Timeline of Old Testament History. Available at http://bit.ly/PreziBibleTimeline

2 Chronicles 36:3 – Jehoahaz, son of Josiah, quickly becomes prisoner in Egypt (2 Chronicles 36:4). Eliakim, second son of Josiah is Egypt’s puppet, until Nebuchadnezzar takes him to Babylon in chains (2 Chronicles 36:6) along with the temple vessels (2 Chronicles 36:7). This is the king that cut up the scroll and burned the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:23).

Interesting that Pharaoh changes the name from El-iakim to Jeho-iakim. The prefix changes from El (generic name for a god, in the KJV as God), to Jeho (short for Jehovah, in the KJV as LORD, the personal name of God. Especially interesting because he did evil in the sight of the LORD). And Eliakim’s son Jehoiachin shortly joins his dad in a Babylonian captivity with more temple vessels (2 Chronicles 36:10).

2 Chronicles 36:11 – Zedekiah, Josiah’s grandson by Eliakim, rejected Jeremiah’s warnings. Zedekiah also imprisoned Jeremiah in the jail in the king’s house (Jeremiah 32:2), because the king would not repent and wanted to “shoot the messenger.”

2 Chronicles 36:13 – God takes vows seriously (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6, Deuteronomy 23:21-23, Numbers 30:2, Psalm 76:11), but Zedekiah violated his vow. From Ellicott:

When Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah vassal-king of Judah, he would naturally make him swear fealty to himself by the God of his fathers. The fact is not specially recorded in Kings; but the prophet Ezekiel makes it the point of a prophecy against the king and his grandees (Ezekiel 17:11-21; comp, especially 2Chronicles 36:17, “mine oath that he hath despised.”

2 Chronicles 36:19 – Four hundred years of the Temple – and now it comes to an end. Just 19 chapters earlier we read how God threatened to destroy Solomon’s offering, the Temple, and make it a byword (2 Chronicles 7:20). Now it has happened.

2 Chronicles 36:21 – Depending on how you count, the Sabbath of the land had only been royally observed four times since Samuel anointed Saul as King. The laws each King had to copy (Deuteronomy 17:18) included the command to give the land the seventh year off (Leviticus 25:1-7), and specific punishment of exile if they did not (Leviticus 26:34-35). But how many kings went to prove the promised miracle of triple-abundance (Leviticus 25:21)? Most commentators simply say 70 years of rest * 7 = 490 years. However, the year of Jubilee was a second year of rest. Thus we would go back 442 years from the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC to 1028 BC. Subtracting 1028 BC from 1050 BC (Anointing of Saul) – would imply that the Sabbath of the Land had been kept only 3 or 4 times from when Samuel anointed Saul and passed the duty to keep the Sabbath onto the King, until when Zedekiah was on the throne when the temple was burned. And 70 years pass with the period at the end of verse 21.

2 Chronicles 36:23 – The book of 2 Chronicles ends at the start of Ezra. Compare 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 with Ezra 1:1-3. The people are returning to build again the House that was burned. The House was defiled by Jewish Kings, burned by Babylonian Kings, but will be rebuilt by a Persian King! The Priests will need to organize themselves, but we read already how Josiah had to do that as well (2 Chronicles 35:2). They will need to keep a Passover that hadn’t been kept in a hundred years, but this wasn’t the first long gap between Passovers. God allowed bad foreign policy to end the life of good King Josiah and hasten the destruction of the temple by pagan kings, but now God commanded a pagan king to fund the reconstruction of the temple!

1 Corinthians 1:7 – We too are waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! What if it were today?

Psalm 27:1The LORD Is my light and my salvation!

Proverbs 20:21 – Solomon is contrasting the inheritance that is normally connected with a blessing, with an inheritance that is not blessed. Reminds me of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:12).

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August 3 – What was Manasseh’s Prayer?

August 3
2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33
Romans 16:10-27
Psalm 26:1-12
Proverbs 20:19

2 Chronicles 33:15 – Manasseh seems to have had a genuine conversion. The prayers of his father though seemingly long without answer, were answered.

2 Chronicles 33:19 – What was Manasseh’s prayer? Was it the ‘Prayer of Manasseh‘? The 15 verse prayer of Manasseh found in the apocrypha is not it because “it says men such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not need to repent because they “did not sin” (verse 8). This runs counter to the clear teaching of Scripture that all have sinned (Romans 3:10-12Romans 3:21-26)” (GotQuestions). That is why it’s not included in the Old Testament but in the aprocrypha.

2 Chronicles 33:24 – Regicide has occurred now several times in the Southern Kingdom

  • Jehu slaying Ahaziah (2 Chronicles 22:9)
  • Jehoiada’s men slaying Athaliah (2 Chronicles 23:15)
  • Jehoash slain by his servants (2 Chronicles 24:25)
  • Amaziah slain by ‘they’ (2 Chronicles 25:27)
  • Amon slain by his servants (2 Chronicles 33:24)

2 Chronicles 34:3 – Unlike his great grandfather Hezekiah, Josiah didn’t have the same urgency. Then again, Josiah became king at age 8, unlike Hezekiah who suffered thru a coregency with an evil king. But when Josiah was 16, in the 8th year of his reign, He sought the LORD, but it wasn’t until he was 26 that he finished purging the land, and started repairing the temple.

2 Chronicles 34:19 – God’s Word often brings a powerful response. This was similar to the Ninevites in Jonah 3:5, who like Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:18) visibly repented. Josiah followed it up by seeking the wisdom of the LORD (2 Chronicles 34:21). God’s wrath would still come but would be delayed (2 Chronicles 34:25), and in the mean time because of Josiah’s leadership, the people departed not from following the LORD (2 Chronicles 34:33).

Romans 16:10 – Note what Paul’s friends were recognized for:

  • “approved in Christ” (Romans 16:10).
  • “in the LORD” (Romans 16:11).
  • “labour in the LORD (Romans 16:12).
  • “Laboured much in the LORD” (Romans 16:12)
  • “chosen in the Lord” (Romans 16:13)

Paul contrasts these faithful followers with the divisors who serve their own belly (Romans 16:17-18).

Romans 16:22 – A “shout out” from Tertius, Paul’s secretary who took the dictation.

Romans 16:26 – The mystery – Jesus – was revealed, and now is being proclaimed to all nations. You have a part in this today!

Psalm 26:2 – Ask God to search your heart today.

Proverbs 20:19 – Proverbs has advice on making friends, and avoiding friends. Avoid the flattering talebearer!

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August 2 – Is there any historical records of Sennacherib at Lachish?

August 2
2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13
Romans 15:23-16:9
Psalm 25:16-22
Proverbs 20:16-18

2 Chronicles 32:1 – We met Sennacherib last month in 2 Kings 18.

2 Chronicles 32:9 – Sennacherib was at Lachish. Yes indeed he was. In Lachish today you can see the siege ramps Sennacherib built:

In the British Museum you can see the massive Lachish Reliefs that depict this battle:

2 Chronicles 32:18 – Today this is called PsyOps:

Psychological operations (PSYOP) are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.

2 Chronicles 32:21 – The Chronicler simplifies the account – noting that Hezekiah prayed and the LORD sent an angel to deliver them.

2 Chronicles 32:25 – Hezekiah the great king of Judah who started with such an urgent following of God, had previously stripped the temple of the gold to bribe Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14-16), had lifted up his heart (2 Chronicles 32:25), and boasted to the Babylonians of his wealth (2 Chronicles 32:31). Even good rulers can struggle greatly, but yet in spite of his sins he was recognized as one of the chiefest…sons of David (2 Chronicles 32:33).

2 Chronicles 33:1 – The worry of every parent’s heart.

2 Chronicles 33:9 – The son of the great King Hezekiah, made the people “do worse than the heathen.” But God wasn’t done with Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:13).

Romans 15:24 – Interestingly there is some debate as to whether Paul reached Spain. As the answer is not found within Scripture, it is hard to be dogmatic on the issue.

Romans 15:27 – Paul contrasts the carnal things with the spiritual things as an motive for Christian giving. The spiritual things are by necessity better, but they can be recognized with the carnal things.

Psalm 25:16 – Like Hezekiah, the Psalmist cries out for mercy. Can God bring people out of distress? (Psalm 25:17) Hezekiah can testify yes!

Proverbs 20:16 – Solomon stresses against cosigning for people – we’ve addressed the fact that up to 75% of borrowers with a cosigner default. If you are dealing with someone who is surety (cosigner) for a stranger (much less a close relative) – this is someone without wisdom and a very poor financial choice. He is headed for bankruptcy soon – don’t lose your collateral (garment).

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

August 1 – The Urgent King hosting a Nationwide Feast!

August 1
2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21
Romans 15:1-22
Psalm 25:1-15
Proverbs 20:13-15

2 Chronicles 30:5 – What does it mean “Beersheba to Dan?” In American we would say “from Atlantic to Pacific” – basically this is the whole length of the kingdom. .

Yes even those who had been violating the Second Commandment by using graven images in the worship of the LORD, are now invited to return to keep the passover. Hezekiah is preaching to those who survived the Assyrian Captivity of 722 BC that ended the Northern Kingdom (2 Chronicles 30:6) What is his message?

  • Return to the place God said to be (2 Chronicles 30:1, 2 Chronicles 30:5)
  • Repent of sinning against God (2 Chronicles 30:6-8)
  • Receive his mercy (2 Chronicles 30:8-9)

2 Chronicles 30:9 – Hezekiah was inspired by God (for the words are preserved by God) to offer a promise of release to the captives if they would repent. But the majority “laughed them to scorn, and mocked them” (2 Chronicles 30:10). The people were willing to suffer the indignity of captivity rather than repent! The religious leaders were willing to suffer eternal torment (Luke 16:24) rather than repent (Luke 16:31). God’s mercy is available but few there be who partake of it (2 Chronicles 30:11).

2 Chronicles 30:18 – Notice the sense of urgency within Hezekiah:

  • First year, first month – repaired the house of the LORD (2 Chronicles 29:3)
    • If we read 2 Chronicles 29:17 correctly – this was the first day of his reign!
  • In just 16 days the temple was cleansed and sanctified (2 Chronicles 29:17)
  • As soon as it was ready, Hezekiah rose early to sacrifice (2 Chronicles 29:20)
    • Hezekiah didn’t wait until he had “enough priests” (2 Chronicles 29:34)
  • Still in the first month he launched a nationwide evangelistic campaign (2 Chronicles 30:1)
  • Less than 30 days later they held the greatest passover in memory (2 Chronicles 30:26)
    • Hezekiah didn’t wait until next year (11 months later) to have passover as the law required (Leviticus 23:5)
  • Hezekiah knew the people weren’t ready so he grabbed the Levites who were (2 Chronicles 30:17) and prayed to God for permission (2 Chronicles 30:20)
    • Hezekiah didn’t wait until the people were cleansed (2 Chronicles 30:18)

What was the cause for this urgency? 2 Chronicles 30:9 tells of the Assyrian destruction of the Northern Kingdom. The captives were gone – and in danger of being assimilated into the pagan society. Hezekiah wanted his kinfolk to return – not just to the land of Israel but to the Lord of Israel. Also Hezekiah likely realized his weakened military position – he could not defend against an Assyrian attack – but God could! So he needed to make sure the land was right with God.

Hezekiah had a sense of urgency, and a whole-hearted commitment (2 Chronicles 30:21). God said it was good, and right, and truth (2 Chronicles 30:20).

Romans 15:1 – How are Christians supposed to act toward each other?

  • Helping the weak (Romans 15:1).
  • Edifying our neighbor (Romans 15:2).
  • Pleasing one another (Romans 15:3)
  • Patient and Consoling with each other (Romans 15:5)
  • Receiving one another (Romans 15:7)
  • Counseling one another (Romans 15:14)

Jay Adams talks about this verse as the key authority for Biblical counseling:

Whenever the process of sanctification slows down (or halts) in a Christian’s life, and he is not able to rectify that situation (for whatever reason), he needs the help of other believers who can direct him to God’s answers to his problems and how to bring about a change that honors Him. Counseling is not a great thing—in itself—but becomes necessary whenever such rescuing of a brother or sister is called for. – Jay Adams

Jay Adams is the popularizer of Biblical Counseling, also called “nouthetic counseling:”

The word nouthetic comes from the Greek word noutheteō. The word, which is primarily used by Paul in the New Testament, is translated into English as “admonish,” “correct,” or “instruct.” This is the word that occurs in Romans 15:14

Psalm 27:5 – In spite of the vast wasteland that has migrated from the television to YouTube, you can memorize Scripture to music found on YouTube. Here’s Psalm 25:5 from Musical Memory Verses.

Proverbs 20:14 – Much wisdom in negotiation technique is contained in just 19 words. Learn and be wise!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.