“Phoebe And Other Friends” – One Year Bible Reading – August 2

Old Testament:  2 Chronicles 32:1-33:21

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2 Chronicles 32: 1 – 33: 21    PK

Here are the parallels in Kings to our section for today:

2 Kings 18:13-37                                        2 Chron. 32:1-19        also Isa. 36:1-22

 2 Chron. 19:1-34                                           2 Chron. 32:20           also Isa. 37:1-35

2 Kings 20:12-19                                          2 Chron. 32:31           also Isa. 39:1-8

2 Kings 20:20-21                                       2 Chron. 32:32-33                                     

2 Kings 21:1-16                                                2 Chron. 33:1-13


2 Chron. 32:27-30 and is unique and without parallel in Kings.

I have written on Hezekiah  previously here:

Games Of Thrones

Not So Cute, Eutychus

A Prophet Gets Belted


Hezekiah was attacked by the king of Assyria.  He, unlike some other kings, trusted the Lord for victory over them.  He not only made provision for battle like cutting off the water supplies outside Jerusalem but also trusted in Yahweh.  He said, “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. 8 With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (v. 7-8).

Just like Satan, the king of Assyria tried to bluff and intimidate the people of Judah.  He told the people not to trust Hezekiah, reminding them he had been victorious over other peoples.

When you have a problem, wouldn’t you like to have Isaiah, the prophet, pray for you?  Hezekiah did.  I know I would.  But did you know we have something better?  The book of Hebrews says that Jesus ever lives to pray for us (Heb. 7:25; cf. Rom. 8:24).  The result was that Yahweh sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army (v. 21).  It was such a disgrace that his own children offed him when he got back home.

After this, Hezekiah became terminally ill and asked Yahweh to extend his life.   Yahweh granted him fifteen more years of life but maybe that wasn’t as good a thing as you might think.   Nine years ago today I had six by-passes.  I thought that was a record but I just heard yesterday of someone who just had seven.  I was hoping to see the Lord while I was under anesthesia and I didn’t mind if I went “home.”  Instead, I have lived nine more years to serve the Lord.  I hope the Lord did the right thing there.

In Hezekiah’s case, instead of showing gratitude to the Lord, Hezekiah became proud.  Although Hezekiah was one of the best kings who had served the Lord, the same can not be said of his kid, Manasseh.

Manasseh was one of the worst kings over Judah.  He was twelve when he became king and reigned for fifty-five years.  He rebuild the pagan idol worship centers that his father had taken down.  He made his sons pass through fire as in heathen worship rites (v. 33:6).  People have been known to die from that sort of thing.  He “practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and rpiritists” (v. 33:6).  He led Judah to do more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed through the nation’s swords (v. 9).   How can bad kids happen to good people?  I don’t know.

Yahweh brought the Assyrian army against Judah again as a punishment for their unbelief.  Manasseh was taken into captivity in chains and hooks.  He humbled himself before the Lord and the Lord allowed him to return to Jerusalem.  He had learned his lesson.   (This gives hope to some parents who are worried about their kids and for PK’s?)

New Testament:  Romans 15:23-16:9

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Romans 15:23-16:9   Friends

Paul states his plans to go to Spain and home to see them in Rome on the way.  He says he is bringing a contribution for the poor back to Jerusalem.  This is a man who had tried to demolish the church in Jerusalem.  Now he is bringing money to them.  Truly there had been a change of life.  The Gentiles were better off financially than the Christians in Jerusalem so they were helping the disadvantaged.  Paul explains this in 2 Cor. 8-9.  However, the principle in v. 27 is that those who are benefited spiritually should benefit their ministers materially (cf. 1 Cor. 9:11; 2 Cor. 8:14; Gal. 6:6).  This is so strange.  I have been told so many times that I should make tents!  Do you know how many people use tents these days?  Most everyone lives in a house!  I think they say this because Paul was a tent-maker (Acts 18: 3) and because they are cheap and unappreciative of spiritual help.

In chapter 16, Paul commends Phoebe to the Romans.  He obviously has never watched Friends.  I know I haven’t.  This is a different Phoebe.  She was a helper.  She was the one who was delivering this letter to Rome.  She was a Gentile as her name indicates.  Verse 1 says she was a “servant” but the NIV is more to the point, she was deaconess!  There is no explaining this away and why would you want to?  She had a place of authority in the church at Cenchra (v. 1) not far from Corinth.

Paul wanted to say “hi” to Prisca aka Priscilla and Aquila (v. 5).  They had risked their lives for the Lord.  They had moved to Corinth due to the Jewish persecution in Rome.  That is where they met Paul who was a fellow tent-maker (see above, Acts 18:2; 18-19).  They had moved back to Rome but later moved to Ephesus.  P and A had a house church in Rome at the time (cf. 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philem. 2).

Paul greets his first convert, Epaenetus, in the region of Asia.

Mary as a name means “bitter” (v. 6).  McGee points out that the name also means “rebellious” and that Mary has had quite a change of heart, now working her rear off for Christ.

Andronicus and Junias were Jewish but also prisoners with Paul.  They were Christians before Paul was converted.  They were recognized as “outstanding” by the “apostles” (v. 7).  Apostle could  be taken in the broad sense that Barnabus and Silas were considered “sent ones” (meaning of apostle, cf. Acts 14:14).  Notice the church in Rome was founded by Priscilla, Aquilla, and Adronicus and Junias.

Ampliatus was most likely a slave, one for whom Paul had great regard.  Urbanus was a city boy from the hood.  I’m not kidding.  That’s why his name was Urban-us.  (Check out McGee if you don’t believe me.)  Stachys has been found listed in a royal household.  Paul likes him, too.  All three of these people were probably slaves since they all had slave-type names.

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