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 2:11-18 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!”
Psalm 150:1-6 Hymn By Anonymous
Psalm 150:1-6 Cymbol-ic
Psalm 150 is the last psalm. It is one of the “Hallelujah” psalms that begins and ends with “Praise The Lord,” in Hebrew, “Hallelujah” (Pss. 146-150). Part of the refrain of the hymn, “Praise Him! Praise Him!” is from verse 2b.
Psalm 150 is like a grand benediction for the entire book of Psalms. They are poems of worship. And Ps. 150 is one final stupendous psalm of worship.
This little poem hammers home the exhortation to praise the Lord. Let’s break out the who, what, why, where, when, and how questions again as we did in Psalm 148 (see Dept. of Redundancy Dept.).
This psalm assumes that the reader knows what worship and praise are. Technically, worship comes from two words squished together, worth and ship. God is worthy of being spoken and thought of in superlatives.
I think it’s implied in this psalm that we should all be praising the Lord all the time just as we are to be giving thanks all the time (cf. Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18)! In Heaven, we will be praising God all the time or all the non-time, as the case may be (cf. Rev. 4:8-11, 5:11-13).
In verse 1, we are exhorted to praise God in the sanctuary of the Temple. The psalmist also exhorts every being in “the expanse” to praise God, answering the where question.
In verse 2, we are to praise Him because He has done great things and because of His attributes.
Suggestions for ways to praise the Lord are with a trumpet, a harp or lyre, dancing, and finger cymbals, medium-sized cymbals, and large cymbals (vv. 3-5). The psalmist wants us to be cymbal-ic. (Get it, like symbolic?)
We could also use stringed instruments like guitars, pianos which are actually percussion instruments with strings, mandolins, ukuleles, violins, cellos, you get the idea (vv. 4b). Remember when you are adding strings to any music, there’s always room for cello.
“Pipes” in verse 4 might include clarinets, oboes, saxophones, and flutes, all the “wind” instruments.
Remember the rule about things repeating? Why would God want us to notice cymbals and percussion so much? Percussion are mentioned three times in verses 4 and 5, two out of six verses! Trumpets are also a loud instrument. Why would God want us to be loud when we praise Him?
COULD IT BE THAT HE WANTS US TO BE EXCITED ABOUT HIM???
Oops. Sorry for shouting. I’m excited.
Are you after reading the book of Psalms?
You should be! If you “have breath,” you should be praising the Lord all the time (v. 6)!
Proverbs 18:9-10 Ancient Slackers
You thought that slackers were a recent phenomena? Solomon wrote about them. They could be relatives of the sluggard (cf. Prov. 6:6, 9,13:4). And we’ll see more of the sluggard.
The slacker here may just make junk or he may be lazy (v. 9). Either way, he is about as good as someone who just destroys things. Destruction is the result of his efforts.
My first job out of college was also my worst. I worked at a business machines store. I was biding my time until I could go to seminary. Calculators had just come out. I know, I’m ancient. Anyway, a new brand was introduced that only cost $100 to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. They were flying out the door of the store. They were also flying back into the store for repair. Most of them didn’t work. As I recall, we were getting about 70% of them back in returns! They were made by slackers, most likely.
Contrary to any slackers, the Lord is a strong person we can rely on like going up the stairs of a really well-constructed building (v. 10). The only place to go when you have troubles is to the Lord. Stay in the Word, read good Christian books and literature . . . and maybe even . . . blogs?
Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 21:31 NASB “Haters”
“While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.” Acts 21:31
The Apostle Paul, who used to killed Christians, came back to the Jerusalem church and was given a hero’s welcome. But then he proceeded to the Temple to preach to the Jews. Of course, the Jews were legalists, following the Mosaic law. They tried to kill him. They didn’t try to reason with him or have a debate with him but they tried to kill him. Verse 32 says they “stopped beating Paul.” You know if they stopped beating him, it meant that they had started to beat him.
I believe we are in the end times. I don’t know how deep we are into the end times. But we are there. And I’m not sure all the opposition to true, Bible-believing Christians is going to be from outside the church. I think it could be from within the church. I hate to say this but it is not only those who oppose “free grace” teaching who are legalistic. Some who hold to very sound, dispensational theology and know their Bibles are also some of the most legalistic Christians. They are also some of the meanest Christians. Many have very good doctrine and they do not like to be corrected. Often they do not understand the things of the Spirit. The result is that they can be filled with hate instead of love.
A saint of the last century, Arthur W. Pink, quoted a saint of the sixteenth century, saying,
“The believer’s progress must be gradual: his faith and his graces must be proved, and his pride subdued, before he can properly endure any kind of prosperity: and for these purposes the Lord often employs the perverseness of his brethren, without their knowledge or contrary to their intention. In the professing Church few honour those whom the Lord will honour: before Jesus came, and in each succeeding generation, the very builders have rejected such as Heaven intended for eminent situations; and His servants must be conformed to Him. Ambition, jealousy, envy, and other evil passions, cause men to conceal their real motives under plausible pretenses. The believer’s wisdom, however, consists in waiting quietly and silently under injuries, and in leaving God to plead his cause, except it be evidently his duty to be active.”*
How do you respond to those who are preaching the Word in the power of the Spirit? Are you listening to them? Can you hear them?
If you can, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
* p. 241 Gospel of John, by A.W. Pink quoting Thomas Scott
The Holy Spirit came, for one reason, to convict us of sin (cf. John 16:8). The Bible also says that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (1 Thes. 3:12).
The Bible says that if you’re sincere about following the Lord, you will be persecuted. Not maybe or per chance.
Are you getting in trouble for being a Christian? Jesus commanded that the persecuted should rejoice because their reward will be great in Heaven (Mt. 5: 12)! Note, too, that the disciples rejoiced when they were persecuted (Acts 5:40-41).
Are you being persecuted or oppressed? Rejoice!
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: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?