Daily Encouragement

July 7 – The Prayer of Jabez

July 7
1 Chronicles 4:5-5:17
Acts 25:1-27
Psalm 5:1-12
Proverbs 18:19

1 Chronicles 4:10 – The prayer of Jabez laid in relative obscurity for many years until Bruce Wilkinson wrote a small book on this verse and sold nine million copies. While many have their own definitions of what it means to enlarge their coasts, and the prophets of profit focus on the financial, may we pray more importantly to be kept from evil and that God’s hand would be with us. If we keep ourselves from evil and if God’s hand is with us, we will have all the blessings we need.

1 Chronicles 4:43 – As has been noticed on our YouVersion group, the Amalekites have caused many problems since Saul disobeyed the command of 1 Samuel 15:18.

Acts 25:11 – Interesting that Paul expressed no reservations to the death penalty, even when it might have been applied to him personally! God had told Paul that he would be sent to Rome, and now the Roman empire will make sure the Roman citizen appeals to Caesar in Rome.

Psalm 5:8 – The Psalmist like Jabez realized that God’s blessing comes 1) when you cry to the LORD (Psalm 5:2-3), 2) when you abstain from evil (Psalm 5:4-6), 3) when you follow the LORD (Psalm 5:7-8). Then God will bless the righteous (Psalm 5:12).

Proverbs 18:19 – Let us live peaceably then with all men! (Romans 12:18)

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Daily Encouragement

July 6 – Paul before Felix

July 6
1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4
Acts 24:1-27
Psalm 4:1-8
Proverbs 18:16-18 

1 Chronicles 3:10 – Now we’re back to familiar names. The kingly line of David going all the way to Josiah and his descendants that were wiped out in short order by Nebuchadnezzar.

1 Chronicles 3:16 – Later we’ll read of the curse on the line of Jehoiakim in Jeremiah 36:30-31. Jeconiah his son was further cursed (Jeremiah 22:30).

Tertullus accuses Paul

Acts 24:5 – By the way, we need a few more “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes”!

Acts 24:14 – Yes! We have seen in the law where it talks of Jesus! The Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world!

Acts 24:16 – Like Paul, can you say that you have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward man?

Psalm 4:4 – Speaking of a clean conscience, are we able to say we are free of unconfessed sin?

Proverbs 18:16 – Is Solomon talking about bribery? See the Pulpit Commentary

Verse 16. – A man’s gift maketh room for him (comp. Proverbs 19:6). Mattam, “gift,” has been taken in different senses. Some consider it to mean a bribe offered for underhand or fraudulent purposes; but the context does not lead to this conclusion, and the parallel passage mentioned above makes against it…. The term here signifies the present which duty or friendship offers to one whom one wishes to please. This paves a man’s way to a great person’s presence. Bringeth him before great men. The Oriental custom of offering suitable gifts to one in authority, when a favour or an audience is desired, is here alluded to (comp. 1 Samuel 10:271 Kings 4:211 Kings 10:25). So the Magi brought gifts so the newborn King at Bethlehem (Matthew 2:11). In a spiritual sense, the right use of riches opens the way to eternal life, evincing a man’s practical love of God and man; as Christ says (Luke 16:9), “Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles”

Daily Encouragement

July 5 – Why these genealogies?

July 5

1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17
Acts 23:11-35
Psalm 3:1-8
Proverbs 18:14-15

1 Chronicles 1:1 – Why the genealogy? And who even wrote this? While we’re not sure exactly, many (including Biblica) think it may have been Ezra:

Just as the author of Kings had organized and interpreted the data of Israel’s history to address the needs of the exiled community, so the Chronicler wrote for the restored community. The burning issue was the question of continuity with the past: Is God still interested in us? Are his covenants still in force? Now that we have no Davidic king and are subject to Persia, do God’s promises to David still have meaning for us? After the great judgment (the dethroning of the house of David, the destruction of the nation, of Jerusalem and of the temple, and the exile to Babylon), what is our relationship to Israel of old?

J. Vernon McGee’s ministry has an infographic on the difference between Kings and Chronicles.

1 Chronicles 2:3-4 – Sin has consequences. We have already read about Judah’s family sins  including Er (Genesis 38:7), Tamar (Genesis 38:26). Now we see as we look back on history, they form part of the chain in the record that takes us to David.

1 Chronicles 2:10 – Who was Nahshon the prince? Well we know he was Boaz’s ancestor. When we look him up in our Bible Search Engine, he was the captain of the children of Judah under Moses (Numbers 2:3).  He was the first prince to offer the sacrifice in the tabernacle (Numbers 2:12). There is an ancient tradition that he was the first to cross the Red Sea.

Acts 23:11 – Just like the post-exilic Israelites wondered if the LORD was still with them and needed to be reassured of His care, Paul was reassured of the LORD’s care for him, even though forty had gathered together to kill him.

Acts 23:16 – God used Paul’s nephew to save his life. Instead of 40 men wanting to kill Paul, the Romans send almost 500 soldiers to protect this one man (Acts 23:23).

Psalm 3:3 – Just like Paul, David knew that the LORD was His shield. We too can rejoice in the Salvation that comes from the LORD (Psalm 3:8).

Proverbs 18:15 – Congratulations to you – you are getting knowledge, and seeking knowledge found in the Word of God! You are prudent and wise!

Daily Encouragement

July 4 – Judah’s loss of Independence

July 4
2 Kings 23:31-25:30
Acts 22:17-23:10
Psalm 2:1-12
Proverbs 18:13

2 Kings 23:33 – The nation that once had collected tribute from others now is forced to pay tribute. On this day that we recognize America’s independence from foreign powers, let’s look at how Judah lost their independence from foreign powers.

2 Kings 24:14 – We will meet four of these captives in the book of Daniel.

2 Kings 25:9 – So ends the great building of Solomon – both the house of the LORD and the house of the King.

2 Kings 25:30 – This obscure phrase at the end of the book of 2 Kings has a remarkable confirmation in the Pergammon Museum in Berlin. From the Bible and Archaeology Online Museum:

This clay tablet from ancient Babylon describes monthly rations allowed to Jehoiachin, a Jewish king. The biblical account of King Jehoiachin is found in 2 Kings 25:29-30, which also states that he received a “regular allowance” from the king of Babylon. The tablet was made in c. 595-570 BC, and was discovered in Babylon in c. 1900.  The text is in the Akkadian language using cuneiform script, and the tablet measures roughly 4 x 4 inches. The artifact is now located in the Museum of the Ancient Near East, Pergamum Museum, Berlin.
Acts 22:21 – Paul was able to speak unto his people until he said that God sent him to preach to another people. Once Paul left the synagogue and started preaching to others was when the trouble usually came.
Acts 22:25 – Again Paul was able to use whatever tools he had to further the gospel. Later he would use his identification as a Pharisee (Acts 23:6) to re-direct the debate.
Acts 23:9 – Ah the wisdom of Gamaliel took root (Acts 5:34). Then again, Paul invoked it earlier (Acts 22:3).
Psalm 2:6 – The king of Judah was deposed, but the King of Kings will one day take His throne!
Proverbs 18:13 – As many a mother has said – God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason…
Daily Encouragement

July 3 – I have found the Book of the Law!

July 3
2 Kings 22:3-23:30
Acts 21:37-22:16
Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 18:11-12

327px-Josiah_hearing_the_book_of_the_law

2 Kings 22:8 – “I have found the book of the law” – This was the book that each king was commanded to hand copy. Amos prophesied a famine of the word of the LORD (Amos 8:11). Senator Zell Miller quoted that passage from Amos from the US Senate floor, and talked about our need for the Word.

Josiah apparently hadn’t seen the Book of the Law before. Good thing we live in America – where the average household has three copies of the entire Word of God. But only one of five Americans has read thru the entire Bible even once! We need to read it (2 Kings 22:10), and we need to repent for how we have disobeyed it (2 Kings 22:11).

2 Kings 22:16 – The Word of the LORD will come to pass. God does judge sin. And God angry at sin (2 Kings 22:17).

2 Kings 22:19 – What does God want? A tender heart, a humble soul, a repentant man to call upon Him!

2 Kings 23:2 – This year we will (God willing!) read thru the entire Bible. Some of our readers have told me they (as a husband and wife) are reading thru the Bible out loud! That is a great idea to keep God’s Word fresh. This year if you’re reading it thru silently, consider reading it aloud next year. Or hand copy ten verses a day until you’ve copied an entire book of the Bible (if you get distracted easily this is a great way to focus!).

2 Kings 23:3 – The covenant was made to obey the LORD, a renewal of the covenant that had last been renewed by Jehoiada (2 Kings 11:17). It was demonstrated by obedience to the Law in purging the violations of the First Commandment (Exodus 20:2 / 2 Kings 23:4), the false priests (2 Kings 23:5) that were the downfall of Korah (Numbers 16:3), destroyed the grove that was on the Temple Mount (2 Kings 23:6) as commanded (Exodus 34:13, Deuteronomy 7:5, Deuteronomy 12:3, and explicitly in Deuteronomy 16:21, following the example of Gideon in Judges 6:28). He removed the Sodomites (2 Kings 23:7) as commanded in the Torah (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13). He ended the practice of offering children to Molech (2 Kings 23:10) as commanded in the Law (Leviticus 18:21, Leviticus 20:2-5). He kept the Passover as commanded (Exodus 12:43, Leviticus 23:5, Numbers 9:2, Deuteronomy 16:1 – 2 Kings 23:22). He cleansed the land of wizards (Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:6, Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 18:11 – 2 Kings 23:23). He more than any other king followed the LORD with all his heart, soul and might (2 Kings 23:25) as God commanded (Deuteronomy 6:5) and Jesus reiterated (Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27).

2 Kings 23:17 – Yes, Josiah, prophesied by name hundreds of years earlier (1 Kings 13:2), fulfilled the Word of the man of God.

Acts 21:37 – God used Paul’s training to prepare Him for times such as this with fluency in Greek (Acts 21:37) and Hebrew (Acts 22:2)

Acts 22:6 – Paul gladly shared his personal testimony of how he went from a persecutor of Jesus to a preacher of Jesus. Don’t be afraid to share your testimony!

Psalm 1:2 – Be like Josiah. Delight in the Law. Meditate in the Law. Obey the Law!

Proverbs 18:12 – The contrasts within Hebrew poetry show a clear break. Haughtiness or Humility. Destruction or Honor. Choose well!

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Daily Encouragement

July 2 – Hezekiah’s Tunnel

July 2
2 Kings 20:1-22:2
Acts 21:18-36
Psalm 150:1-6
Proverbs 18:9-10

2 Kings 20:5 – How does prayer work? Prayer in itself doesn’t, but the God that we talk to thru prayer does work! He can deliver a king from an invading army. He can cure an incurable disease. And He acts “for mine own sake” (2 Kings 20:6).

2 Kings 20:18 – The King of Israel, will have descendants who will be unable to have descendants, serving the King of Babylon. Why? Likely because Berodachbaladan was given a royal tour but the tour didn’t give the glory to the God who saved the life and empire of the King. How do we surmise this? The Queen of Sheba visited, and she saw all of Solomon’s splendor (1 Kings 10:5). But how did the Queen of Sheba respond? Praising the LORD God (1 Kings 10:9). If Berodachbaladan praised the LORD for the situation of Hezekiah, I think it would have been recorded.

2 Kings 20:20 – Hezekiah’s tunnel was rediscovered by the adopted son of Horatio Spafford, author of It Is Well With My Soul. Here’s a quick 2 minute video explaining what Hezekiah’s Tunnel did:

2 Kings 21:3 – Let us pray that our children follow us as we follow the LORD, and not turn from His ways!

2 Kings 22:2 – Praise the LORD that God can use the grandson of an evil king to serve Him!

Acts 21:21 – Yes, the grace of God came upon the Gentiles. Not that they were free from law, but free from Moses’ law. Moses only had 613 commandments. Of them many dealt with the temple. But the temple was no longer a figure because God now dwells within us. We can go directly to Him, not having to depend upon a priest. But now the New Testament contains over 1,000 imperatives that apply to the Christian seeking to know God’s statutes!

Acts 21:30 – When God is at work, the entire city is moved!

Psalm 150:6 –  As we finish the Psalms, it is as if the Psalmist has run out of things to declare, and simply says, everything that hath breath, Praise the LORD! May we praise Him as well!

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Daily Encouragement

July 1 – Sennacherib vs Hezekiah

July 1
2 Kings 18:13-19:37
Acts 21:1-17
Psalm 149:1-9
Proverbs 18:8

2 Kings 18:13 – This is one of the most documented miracles in the Bible. Come with me as we explore this passage, or if you want to wait for 2 Chronicles 32 or Isaiah 33 we can do that as well. To introduce you to Sennacherib, I will leave Milwaukee and head down I-94 to Chicago, past the Sears (now Willis) Tower, and into the University of Chicago campus. John D. Rockefeller spent millions building this educational institution, and one of his projects was the Oriental Institute. Speaking of Rockefeller there is the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem and it has many artifacts too – but it’s cheaper (and faster) for me to go to the Oriental Institute. As you enter the museum, and turn left, you’ll see at the end of the hall a giant “lamassu” or winged bull staring at you from the far end. If you approach the lamassu and turn your head slightly to the right, you will see one of the attendants of the palace of Sargon in Khorsabad, his son Sennacherib (he’s the one with the fancy beard).

2 Kings 18:14 – As we continue our journey through the Oriental Institute, we will follow the door near Sennacherib, and walk thru the passage way until we see a “prism” that contains some wedged shaped cuneiform writing on it. I’ve taken the trouble to bring you a print out of the translation (my Assyrian is a bit rusty) – and on the second column I point out that he talks about Hezekiah the Judahite near the bottom.

Now Hezekiah was asked for 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, but it appears Hezekiah gave him far more than was asked for (2 Kings 18:15). The prism talks about the tribute on the 3rd panel.

2 Kings 18:15 – Where did Hezekiah get the silver from? The house of the LORD. What if instead of stripping the house of the LORD, he would have prayed?

2 Kings 18:17 – Sennacherib will defeat the forces at Lachish. If we go to the British Museum, we can see what Sennacherib did – he built a siege ramp to capture the city, and then declares victory commemorated with a massive monument.

2 Kings 18:22 – Rabshekah misunderstands what Hezekiah did. He didn’t get rid of altars to the LORD, he removes the forbidden altars.

2 Kings 18:35 – Rabshekah challenges the LORD.

2 Kings 19:35 – Yes, the LORD judges as well as exercises mursey.

Acts 21:13 – Paul was willing to suffer and die for the name of Jesus. Are we willing to live for the name of Jesus?

Psalm 149:4 – The blessings of the immanence of the LORD.

Proverbs 18:8 – May we not wound others with our talebearing.

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Daily Encouragement

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

June 30
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 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 still in His mercy 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 amongst other gods. People pick and choose the parts they like, and mix in a fair amount of hedonism, idolatry, and other practices into 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. They are not your flock, they are the flock of the Holy Ghost, 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 after the Gospel.

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

Proverbs 18:7 – Does your mouth lead you to your destruction?

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Daily Encouragement

June 29 – Tiglath Pileser III

June 29
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 USC:

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

Psalm 147:19 – Israel guarded the Law and the Old Testament and has been a key part of 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

June 28
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 when we don’t honor them!

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

2 Kings 14:14 – Reading thru 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 loses 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?

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.