Daily Encouragement

June 30 – The Fall of the Northern Kingdom (722 BC)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
2 Kings 17:1-18:12
Acts 20:1-38
Psalm 148:1-14
Proverbs 18:6-7

2 Kings 17:7 — The first violation listed as a cause for God’s judgment was the violation of the first commandment. Later in 2 Kings 17:10 we see the violation of the second commandment. Yet, God in His mercy still sent prophets to warn them (2 Kings 17:13).

2 Kings 17:32-33 — Today, we have a similar situation. People show the formalities of reverence to the LORD by paying a visit to mark His birth or His death, but He is placed on their heart’s shelf among the other gods. People pick and choose the parts they like, and then mix in a fair amount of hedonism, idolatry, and other practices for a diversified religious experience.

2 Kings 18:5-6 — How is this for a testimony of faithfulness? Can it be said of you that you “clave” to the LORD?

2 Kings 18:9 — We are now at 722 BC, one of the key dates in Israelite history – the fall of the Northern Kingdom.

Acts 20:9 — While your guide has fallen into a deep sleep in church, thankfully he has never fallen from the third floor.

Acts 20:18 — Speaking of a testimony of obedience, consider Paul’s: “… serving the LORD with all humility … and with many tears.”

Acts 20:28 — Paul’s charge to the elders of Ephesus: guard the flock. He tells them that it’s not “your” flock, it is the flock of the Holy Ghost and a valuable flock, purchased with the very blood of Jesus Christ.

Acts 20:29 — Too many today are falling into ancient heresies like Gnosticism or its modern variations. We need to remember that heresy came quickly to the Church after the Gospel.

Psalm 148:1 — Count the number of ways we can praise the LORD!

Proverbs 18:7 — Does your mouth lead you into destruction?

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Daily Encouragement

June 29 – Tiglath Pileser III

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
2 Kings 15:1-16:20
Acts 19:13-41
Psalm 147:1-20
Proverbs 18:4-5

2 Kings 15:5 — Why was Azariah struck with leprosy? We’ll find out in 2 Chronicles 26:16-21!

2 Kings 15:12 — ”And so it came to pass.” The word of the LORD always comes to pass!

Stele of Tiglath-Pilesar III, King of Assyria (745-727 BCE), Zagros mountains, western Iran, Dolomite (hard limestone), H. 2.4 m, IMJ 74.49.96 Gift of Ayoub Rabenou, Paris

2 Kings 15:19-20 — From the University of Southern California:

In 1993 a team of UCLA archaeologists led by Professor Elizabeth Carter were undertaking a survey of the Karamanmarash Valley in present-day Turkey (right). Digging near a village called Incirli, a funny thing happened. One of the local residents informed them that a man had found a strange artifact in a mound behind his house, which he had been leveling for agricultural reasons. The mound was now sitting in his garden. Upon going to the garden and inspecting the object, Prof. Carter was amazed to discover that it was actually an ancient basalt stele (rounded stone slab) dating back to the days of the Assyrian Empire.

The Incirli stela is one of the few inscriptions that solidifies the existence of the biblical figure Pul/Tiglath Pileser. This alone brings a great deal of importance to the history and the words encompassing the Incirli stela.

2 Kings 16:3 — This was a clear violation of Leviticus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 18:10. Unfortunately, he would not be the last king to so do (2 Kings 17:17 and 2 Kings 21:6).

Acts 19:15 — It’s not enough to have a friend who knows someone. You need to know Jesus directly!

Acts 19:19 — Obedience can be expensive – in this case 50,000 pieces of silver!

Acts 19:30 — I’m thankful for friends who can tell the difference between a God-given opportunity to preach and a riot that will be dealt with administratively (Acts 19:35).

Psalm 147:1 — From Earl Martin:

Psalm 147:5 — A great and simple verse to memorize and meditate upon!

Psalm 147:19 — Israel guarded the Law and the Old Testament, and by doing so, they have been a key part in the preservation of the Bible for us today!

Proverbs 18:4 — What kind of man is this? The second phrase enlightens us – the wise man!

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Daily Encouragement

June 28 – Disappearing Treasures

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
2 Kings 13:1-14:29
Acts 18:23-19:12
Psalm 146:1-10
Proverbs 18:2-3

2 Kings 13:4 — God always listens to those who turn to Him. Don’t wait so long to call upon Him!

2 Kings 13:21 — Yes, God still had work for Elisha to do, even after he was dead!

2 Kings 13:23 — Ah, God even honors His covenants with us even when we don’t honor them!

2 Kings 14:6 — God may send punishment on the third and fourth generation, but man cannot, even when enforcing the God-ordained laws.

2 Kings 14:14 — We’ve seen Rehoboam lose the treasures to Pharaoh Shishaq (1 Kings 14:26), Asa take the treasures to Ben Hadad (1 Kings 15:18), Jehoash take the hallowed things to Hazael (2 Kings 12:18), and now Amaziah lose to Jehoash the treasures. We’ll see Ahaz give the treasures to Assyria (2 Kings 16:8), Hezekiah give the treasures to Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:15), and finally Jehoiachin surrender to Nebuchadnezzar the treasures (2 Kings 24:13).

Sometimes we stockpile our wealth waiting for a future day to use our riches for the LORD, but we know not what tomorrow may bring or what our descendants will do.

2 Kings 14:25 — Jonah the prophet prophesied victory for the Israelites and the people rejoiced assuredly. But then Jonah was given a message of forgiveness to the Ninevites and … we’ll see what happens when we get to the Book of Jonah!

Acts 18:26 — May we be like Apollos – a man willing to take instruction from others.

Acts 19:8 — Paul used his credentials to open doors to speak in synagogues as well as before Romans. What doors are you able to open to preach in?

Psalm 146:6 — Who is the God of Jacob? The Creator!

Proverbs 18:2 — Is your heart curved inward, or is it seeking understanding from above?

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Daily Encouragement

June 27 – Jehoiada Renews the Covenant

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
2 Kings 10:32-12:21
Acts 18:1-22
Psalm 145:1-21
Proverbs 18:1

2 Kings 10:32 — Here we see God’s judgment on Jehu. The monument we talked about yesterday was a permanent record of his disobedience.

2 Kings 11:17 — Jehoiada renewed the covenant of Deuteronomy 29 – this is the same covenant in Joshua 7:11 that God reminded the people they had disobeyed, it was the same covenant that God warned about disobeying in Joshua 23:16, it was the same covenant that God renewed in Joshua 24:25, it was the same covenant that they disobeyed in Judges 2:20, it was the same covenant that God reminded Solomon he disobeyed in 1 Kings 11:11, it was the same covenant that Elijah realized the Israelites disobeyed in 1 Kings 19:10, and it was the same covenant that the nation is now renewing again.

2 Kings 11:18 — The queen that had brought in Baal worship tried to accuse the people of treason (2 Kings 11:14), and only when she heard the “noise of the guard and of the people” did she enter into the house of the LORD (2 Kings 11:13). Apparently, it had been so abandoned that it was the staging ground for the revolution.

2 Kings 12:8 — From the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

The object of this chest was to make a separation between the money to be raised for the building from the other moneys destined for the general use of the priests, in the hope that the people would be more liberal in their contributions when it was known that their offerings would be devoted to the special purpose of making the necessary repairs. The duty of attending to this work was no longer to devolve on the priests, but to be undertaken by the king.

2 Kings 12:18 — Isn’t it interesting to read about the people who try to bribe their way to success, when all they need to do is just follow God completely (2 Kings 12:3)? As I’m sure you are aware, the problem with pragmatism is that it often works!

Acts 18:8 — 

Acts 18:9 — Ever notice how often God has to tell us to not be afraid?

Acts 18:14 — Sometimes God defends us before we can defend ourselves!

Psalm 145:3 — Amen!

Psalm 145:18 — The LORD is nigh! Call upon him!

Proverbs 18:1 — Many of the commentaries note that this is a hard Hebrew phrase to translate. They note that the desire is the driving force for good or for bad.

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Daily Encouragement

June 26 – The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
2 Kings 9:14-10:31
Acts 17:1-34
Psalm 144:1-15
Proverbs 17:27-28

2 Kings 9:22 — Jehu seems to be a moral crusader. He even avenges Naboth (2 Kings 9:26). Will he hang with his commitment to the LORD?

2 Kings 9:34 — The first time Jehu failed in his obedience. The prophet told Jehu that the dogs would eat Jezebel and there would be none to bury her (2 Kings 9:10), but Jehu contradicts the prophet by ordering Jezebel to be buried.

2 Kings 10:6 — Jehu executes the judgment against Ahab’s family (2 Kings 9:8) that Elijah prophesied, and he again proclaims fidelity to the LORD in 2 Kings 10:10. He obeys the Lord in 2 Kings 10:17 by continuing to exterminate the lineage of Ahab.

2 Kings 10:29 — No!!! Jehu followed the LORD except in regard to the Golden Calves! 2 Kings 10:31 – he didn’t follow the Lord completely.

Interestingly, the only king of Israel or Judah that we have a depiction of is Jehu. The Israelites were forbidden from making graven images or “victory statues” of themselves (Exodus 20:4). The only graven images we have are from the secular nations such as the Assyrian Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III in the British Museum.

“The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.”

Acts 17:6 — This is a great testimony: “These that have turned the world upside down!” Most Christians have left their neighborhood right side up!

Acts 17:11 — The noble Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily! May we be of their tribe!

Acts 17:22 — How does Paul preach to the intellectuals on Mars’ Hill? He uses an illustration – the altar to the Unknown God (Acts 17:23) – but he then proceeds to describe this God as the Creator first (Acts 17:24).

Acts 17:26 — Who made us? God did, and He made us of one blood. Ken Ham has written on this.

Acts 17:31 — At the BibleWalk Wax Museum in Mansfield, Ohio, they have a life-size portrayal of the Judgment Seat of Christ. The museum says that up to half of the people who come through the facility ask them if the Judgment Seat of Christ is really in the Bible. People are familiar with the Passion of Christ but are not as familiar with the fact that God will judge the world! It was this idea that judgment will come after God raises the dead that was so controversial in Paul’s day (Acts 17:32).

Psalm 144:1 — The Soldier’s Prayer.

Psalm 144:15 — Happiness comes to those who follow the LORD!

Proverbs 17:27-28 — How much knowledge and understanding do you have?

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Daily Encouragement

June 25 – Gehazi Reporting to the King

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
2 Kings 8:1-9:13
Acts 16:16-40
Psalm 143:1-12
Proverbs 17:26

2 Kings 8:4 — Sometimes we think Gehazi was mistreated. In our mind, he was just running errands for Elisha (2 Kings 4:12). In spite of this, though, the Shunamite woman had ignored him (2 Kings 4:26), he had shoved her away (2 Kings 4:27), and he couldn’t heal her sick child (2 Kings 4:31). He doesn’t even get to talk to Naaman the Captain of the Host of Syria (2 Kings 5:10). When he tried to improve his financial condition, he became a leper (2 Kings 5:27). Remember, though, he was in communication with the king of Israel at the same time.

2 Kings 8:8 — The king of Syria recognized that the man of God transcended national limitations – he spoke for the LORD that transcended borders. Yet at the same time, Elisha wept (2 Kings 8:11) because he had been made aware of what Hazael would do to his people (2 Kings 8:12). That is a delicate balancing act – empathy for your own nation and still maintaining integrity before the world.

2 Kings 8:10 — Is Elijah trying to deceive the king? From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

Elisha sees through Hazaeľs character and designs, and answers him in the tone of irony which he used to Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:26, “Go, tell thy lord—as thou, the supple and unscrupulous courtier wilt be sure to do—he will certainly recover. I know, however, that he will assuredly die, and by thy hand.”

This use of irony is prevalent throughout the books of 1 & 2 Kings, and can be difficult to catch especially since we don’t have a widespread “sarcasm font” yet. GotQuestions.org has a good discussion of irony vs. sarcasm – irony can be appropriate, sarcasm isn’t.

2 Kings 9:13 — Well, it seems the captains of the host of Ahab weren’t too loyal to the house of Ahab. Were they loyal to the LORD and grumbling over the new Baal worship? Or were they just upset that Ahab’s boy got wounded by the Syrians (2 Kings 8:29)?

Acts 16:25 — What did Paul and Silas sing in the prison? Patch the Pirate wrote a song that pulls from Old Testament verses that express the themes that Paul & Silas may have sung:

Acts 16:27 — The keeper of the prison was asleep. It wasn’t the music that saved him – it was the testimony of the prisoners that led him to ask how he could be saved (Acts 16:30). Yes, even his house heard the word of the Lord (Acts 16:32) and were saved (Acts 16:31). They were baptized too (Acts 16:33).

Listen to Earl Martin sing “Sirs, What Must I Do”:

Acts 16:37 — Interestingly, Paul didn’t make full use of his Roman “passport”. Paul gladly suffered so he could reach the jailer.

Psalm 143:2 — The Psalmist wants mercy not justice.

Psalm 143:5 — Note the similarity between this passage and Psalm 119 – the Psalmist asks for God to listen because he knows that God does not hear the prayer of the iniquitous (Psalm 66:18, Proverbs 15:29, 1 Peter 3:12).

The Psalmist says he meditates on God’s works, muses on them (Psalm 143:5), reaches for God, thirsts for God (Psalm 143:6), and because of that, he can request that God hear him (Psalm 143:7).

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