“A Prophet Gets Belted” – One Year Bible Reading – July 1

Old Testament: 2 Kings 18:13-19:37

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2 Kings 18: 13 – 19: 13   How Rumors Get Started

In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, the king of Assyria besieged all the cities of Judah.  Hezekiah asked the king of Assyria to back off and he would pay whatever the king wanted.  The Assyrian king asked for $6,890,625.00 of silver and $47, 739,600 in gold.  Hezekiah gave him all the silver from the Temple and from the king’s palace.  He also took the gold off the doors and doorposts of the Temple and gave it to Assyria’s king.

The king of Assyria had representatives who came and yelled up to the commander of Judah who was up on the wall around Jerusalem.  They said, “You might as well pack it in because you can’t beat us and your God can’t save you.  No one else in history and no other god has been able to beat us.”  Hezekiah’s men mourned and tore their clothes but relayed the message to him.

The prophet Isaiah (yes, that Isaiah!) told Hezekiah that he had a word from Yahweh, “Don’t worry about this situation and the words of blasphemy.  I will send a spirit to start a rumor that will make him return to Assyria and he’ll get wiped out in his own land.”

The Assyrian general went back to his king who was in Libnah.  The word on the street was that the Ethiopian (Ethiopia was in the area of modern- day southern Egypt, Sudan, and northern Ethiopia)  king was coming to attack Assyria.  The Assyrian king sent messengers to Hezekiah that he shouldn’t try anything foolish.  All of the gods of the surrounding nations had not delivered their countries against the Assyrians and they would not be an exception.  They would also be subdued and Yahweh could not save them.

2 Kings 19: 14 – 19: 37   What’d’ya Say, Isaiah?

Hezekiah did what he should have.  He took the letter he had received from his men, spread it on the ground before the Lord and prayed.  He acknowledged that Yahweh was God and that the nations that had been defeated by Assyria were all idol-worshippers.  Hezekiah asked Yahweh to deliver Judah and receive the glory for it so that the world would know He was truly the only God.

Isaiah, the prophet, relayed Yahweh’s answer:

1)  Yahweh had heard Hezekiah.

2)  Assyria had not only insulted Judah but also Yahweh, Himself!

3)  Assyria had boasted about how great they were.

4)  Yahweh had allowed Assyria to be victorious other the other nations but was going to “put a hook in [the] nose of Assyria” and send them back to where they had come.

5)  The way everyone would know that Yahweh was speaking the truth.  The Judeans would be able to grow crops for a year, the second year they’d be able to eat of the crops and sow the seed for more, and in the third year the normal cycle of harvest would be restored.  Just as crops would be restored, so would the Judeans be restored and proper in the land.

6)  Sennacherib, the king of Assyria would not end up besieging Judah nor even shoot an arrow.  He will turn back to where he came.  Jerusalem will be protected by Yahweh.

7)  The angel of the Lord that night struck down 185,000 Assyrians and the Judeans found them dead on the ground when they got up the next morning.

Sennacherib left and went him to live in Nineveh.  He was worshipping his god, Nisroch, and his sons came in and offed him.  They escaped in Ararat in Armenia (now in part of Russia, Turkey, and Iran) and one of his other sons became the king of Assyria.

All of this is also recorded in the book of the prophet Isaiah in chapters 36 and 37.

New Testament:  Acts 21:1-17

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Acts 21:1-17   A Prophet Gets Belted

Paul continued on his third missionary voyage traveling south from Ephesus through the Mediterranean Sea touching on islands outside southwestern (modern-day) Turkey passing through Cyprus and Tyre till he got back to Jerusalem.  At Tyre, there was a stop to unload cargo for seven days.  The disciples warned him not to return to Jerusalem.

Paul stopped a couple places on the coast of Palestine and came to Caesarea, to the house of Philip the evangelist and stayed with him.  Philip was chosen as one of the seven deacons along with Stephen in Acts 6 (v. 1-5).  He was the one who witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 (v. 26 – 40) and then vanished.

Philip had four daughters who were prophetesses.  Paul stayed there a while and a prophet named Agabus approached him who had come down from Judea.  He took Paul’s belt and used it to bind his own feet and hands and said the Holy Spirit was telling him, “The Jews in Jerusalem will bind up the owner of this belt and turn him over to the Gentiles” (v. 11).  Luke and the people in the local fellowship begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem when they heard the prophecy of Agabus.  Paul said, “What’s the big deal?  I don’t care if I’m bound up or even die if it glorifies Jesus!  Quit crying!  You’re breaking my heart!”  Luke says when they heard Paul say that, they calmed down figuring if that was what God wants . . . .

Luke is still using the pronoun “we” meaning he was with Paul when they decied to go to Jerusalem.  Some disciples from Caesarea also went with them to Cyprus, the island off the coast of Greece.  They stayed there while enjoying the hospitality of one of the disciples named Mnason.   Then they arrived in Jerusalem where the fellowship was glad to see them.

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