Old Testament: 2 Kings 18:13-19:37
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
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.
Psalm 149:1-9 Hymn By Anonymous
Psalm 149:1-9 Singing Badly
This the another “Hallelujah” psalm that begins and ends with “Praise The Lord,” in Hebrew, “Hallelujah.” Actually, this psalm begins with praise but ends with judgment. And even in judgment there is praise for God.
We have already seen the phrase “new song” in Psalms, most recently in Psalms 144:9. In Isa. 42:10, Isaiah exhorts Israel to sing a new song and in the book of Revelation a new song will be sung (cf. Rev. 5:9; 14:3).
What does it mean to sing a new song (v. 1)? It is to turn the page and move on in our lives. We should be refreshed in Christ every day. Of course, to do that, we must change then times of refreshing will come (cf. Acts 3:19). Our goal in life should be to allow God to change us to be more like Christ every day and change from one degree of glory to another (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18). In a sense, we can be born again (cf. John 3:3) every day. Technically, we can only be reborn once. But practically, we can leave our old selves behind in a new way and become new every day (cf. Phil. 3:13).
One way to be renewed is to praise the Lord in a new way every day (vv. 2-3). We can use all kinds of musical instruments, sing, listen to Christian music or just great music. We could try dancing to the Lord, though I recommend doing that behind closed doors where no one can see you. Some of you should only sing in the shower, by the way.
The Scripture does enjoin making a joyful “noise” (cf. Ps. 66:1; 81:1; 95:1-2; 98:4, 6; and 100:1). Even if you just make some noise for the Lord, God will love it (v. 4). You will just be one of the “afflicted ones.”
If you are a really bad singer, you can just sing on your bed and into your pillow (v. 5). You can one day accompany Christ when he comes back and punish his enemies with your singing as well as a really good sword (v. 6, cf. Zech. 14:3-5; 1 Thess. 3:13; Jude 14-15).
God will use the ones who are saved to bring judgment on the nations (vv. 7-9). God will set all the records straight some day. We can take comfort in that. I believe we will be there, as God’s people, to witness it all.
Those of us who have been abused and misused can take comfort that in the near future, God will set everything straight and comfort the afflicted (v. 4)!
At that time, not only will the “born again” be there, but all things shall be made new (cf. Rev. 21:5)!
Proverbs 18:8 When Talk Is Cheep, Cheep, Cheep
My favorite musical is The Music Man. One of the greatest songs from a musical is “Cheep, Cheep, Cheep.” Ok, no it’s not. But it is pretty humorous. The “cheep, cheep, cheep” part is onomatopoeia. That means it’s a word from the sound of something associated with what is named. In other words, “cheep, cheep” is the sound of gossip in the context of the song and play. In small towns, people talk a lot. And that talk is “cheep” (I know it’s misspelled! It’s a pun!).
Of course in little churches there is no gossip. Oh, wait. Yeah, there is. Lots of it. And the gossip can really hurt people. Though it feels good to release those delicacies through the mouth, they often end up in other people’s stomachs. And then they make people sick. In fact, they infect the entire church.
So though you may think if you whisper the gossip, no one will really ever hear it. They will. And it will hurt the cause of Christ.
So don’t do it.
Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 21:11 NASB “Can Anything Good Come From Dallas?”
“And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” Acts 21:11
Years ago, not long out of college, I was applying for a job with a missionary agency in Indianapolis to do PR. I didn’t get the job and was discouraged. A friend of mine who was with me said she thought God was telling her that I’d be going to Dallas before I went into ministry. I thought that was a very strange thing to say since I had no inclination to go to Texas. I figured it was just a whim of her imagination.
Ten years later, after I had arrived in Dallas to go to seminary, I realized that she was right. So this broaches the question, Where are the use of the gifts these days? Some Christians talk about nothing other than the gifts, other Christians get uppity about the gifts passing away. Is one side overemotional and the other self-righteous? Are we missing out on God’s supernatural work?
I hope not. If I’m right and we are approaching the end of the age, we’re going to need the gifts and the power and work of the Spirit now more than ever.
Do you know what your supernatural gift is from God?
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
If you have embroiled in the gift controversy, you’re probably wondering where I stand on the issue of gifts. OK, yeah, I believe some gifts have passed away. I have seen a lot of apostles lately and I don’t think we need prophecy since the canon was closed after John wrote Revelation. We don’t need tongues for revelation anymore either or their interpretation. But what about the gift of wisdom or speaking or knowledge? We desperately need those. No one disputes the gift of administration, evangelism, or helps. But who admits to having them?
You can determine, somewhat, what your gift is by taking free online quizzes or even by obtaining a book on the subject. Or you could just ask the Holy Spirit to show you what your gift is. Are you open to whatever He might say? Are you willing to serve Him with that gift?
The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: A Prophet Gets Belted