Old Testament: 2 Kings 20:1-22:2
2 Kings 20:1-20 Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
Good King In Judah: Hezekiah incurred a fatal illness. Isaiah (yeah, that Isaiah) came to visit him and tell him to get everything in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah didn’t want to die and prayed fervently to live. As Isaiah was leaving, Yahweh told him to turn around and tell Hezekiah that he’d be healthy enough to go to the Temple in three days. Yahweh promised to add fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life and He would also deliver Jerusalem from Assyria to boot. Yahweh was going to save Jerusalem for His own glory and to honor David. Isaiah told Hezekiah to put a cake of figs on his boil. Hezekiah obeyed and he became healthy again.
Hezekiah asked Isaiah for a sign that the Lord would actually heal him, probably because of the imminency of invasion by Sennacherib. Isaiah gave him a choice of signs. He said Yahweh could make the shadows go up ten steps or down ten steps. Hezekiah said that it’d be harder for the shadows to go up ten steps. Isaiah prayed and Yahweh made the shadow on the stairway go up ten steps on his stairway which his father, Ahaz, had made as a sundial.
The king of Babylon sent messagers with presents to Hezekiah since he had heard that Hezekiah was ill. Hezekiah showed the king’s men all of his treasure, silver, gold and everything else he had in store. Isaiah the prophet asked him where the men had come from and he said they had come from Babylon and he had shown them everything in his house and everything he had stored up.
Isaiah told Hezekiah that the day was coming when everything that was in storage was going to be carried to Babylon. He told him even some of his sons would be taken captive and become officials in the Babylonian king’s palace. Hezekiah figured, “Oh, well. At least it won’t happen while I’m still on the earth.” When Hezekiah died, his son, Manasseh became king.
2 Kings 211-18 Dumb Ashram
Bad King In Judah: Manasseh was only twelve when he became king. He was king for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He was involved in the same kind of idol worship that had characterized the northern kingdom for so long. His father had destroyed the high places but Manasseh had them rebuilt and made altars to dumb idols, Baal, and Asherah just as evil King Ahab had done.
He built altars to the false gods and put them in the Temple of the true God. He even burnt his son as a sacrifice and practiced witchcraft and divination in cahoots with mediums and spiritists. He put up carved Asherah images in the Temple that Solomon had dedicated to Yahweh. Manasseh was involved in more evil than all the nations that had been driven out of the Promised Land. He broke the covenant that would allow them to stay in His land if they kept His commandments.
Yahweh said through His prophets that He was going to bring destruction on Judah. There would be such a calamity that all the lands around would have aching ears when they heard about it. Yahweh said he was going to abandon them because He was sick of all their sin since He brought them into His land from Egypt.
Manasseh had also killed many innocent people. When Manasseh died, his son, Amon, took his place.
2 Kings 21:19-22:2 A Bad Dad
Bad King In Judah: Amon was twenty-two when he became king. He was king for only two years in Jerusalem. He was as bad as his dad and was involved in the same kind of idol worship as his father. His servants conspired against him and offed him in his own house. Then the people killed the people who had killed him. Then Josiah, his son, took over.
Good King In Judah: Josiah was only eight years-old when he became king. He was king for thirty-one years, ruling from Jerusalem. He was a good king and acted more like David than other kings had. He obeyed the commandments of Yahweh.
New Testament: Acts 21:18-36
Acts 21:18-36 Jerusalem Bound
Paul reported to James and all the elders in Jerusalem all that God had done amongst the Gentiles through the course of his ministry. James was the Lord’s brother and the pastor of the Jerusalem church. They all praised God for what He had done.
There had been rumors that Paul was teaching people to live contrary to Moses. Afraid that there would be an uproar when they heard about Paul’s journeys, they told Paul to go with four of their men who had committed to a vow. They told Paul to go with them to shave their heads and purify themselves, making a sacrifice for each of them. Paul was supposed to pay for it all. This was to appease the Jews so there wouldn’t be any trouble.
But there was trouble. Some of the Jews, unbelievers, from the province of Asia where Paul had preached were in town for Pentecost. They raised a ruckus. This was the sixth time Paul had been in the middle of a riot (14:19; 16:19- 22; 17:5- 8, 13; 19:25- 34). They accused Paul of preaching against Moses and said he defiled the Temple by bringing in Gentiles. He hadn’t done all of what he was accused. He didn’t tell people that they shouldn’t be circumcised and though they had seen him with Trophimus the Ephesian, he hadn’t brought him into the Temple.
They dragged Paul out of the Temple and slammed the doors shut behind them. While they were trying to beat him to a pulp, the commander of the Roman cohort got the report of a riot in Jerusalem. He left at once with some soldiers and centurions to try to chill things out. When the Jews saw the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. The commander had Paul bound in chains and started asking everyone what Paul had done. Everyone was shouting at once so that the commander couldn’t tell what was going on. So he had Paul thrown in jail. Paul had to be carried up the stairs because of all the people trying to get a piece of him. The mob was screaming, “Get rid of him!”