Old Testament: 2 Chronicles 29:1-36
2 Chronicles 29:1-36 A Grand Re-Opening
Here are the parallels in Kings to our section for today:
2 Kings 18:1-3 2 Chron. 29:1-2
2 Chronicles 29:3-36 is unique.
I have written on kings previously here:
Hezekiah was a good king. We have to classify him that way because of the great revival he brought to Judah at a bad time. He did finish poorly. It is a shame how some have done that. Solomon finished poorly. Hezekiah finished poorly. David had a bad streak. In contrast, Paul finished well (2 Tim. 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith”).
Most of chapter 29 of 2 Chronicles is only found in 2Chronicles. There is really no parallel in Kings. He began by re-opening the Temple that had been shut down by his father, Ahaz. This shows it is possible to overcome a bad father and difficult childhood. Hezekiah brought the Levites back to minister in the Temple.
He brought good music back into the Temple (v. 25-26). I believe, as always, these were trained musicians. The music was good music not just thrown together by learning music off the pop Christian radio station. Of course, there was no radio back then. I think it is difficult to find anything good that is sent through radio or television or cable. The devil is the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) and has gotten a tighter control of what is sent through the airwaves in recent years. There used to be very good Bible teaching and hymns. Even when I was on the air, there was good Christian contemporary music.
Notice there were good lyrics to the music they sang. The words were by David (v. 30). That is hard to beat. Recently, at a church we were visiting, the lyrics of the music were projected on the wall, as is the contemporary custom. I call the music “off the wall” music because most of it is “off the wall.” Well, I never thought it could happen but I looked up and the lyrics to the song we were singing was “oooo . . . oooo . . . ooo.” I was stunned. I didn’t think it could really happen. I later asked an elder if I was supposed to sing that and he said he usually laid out during that time. Can I say that if we are ever to have revival again in this country that we are going to have to have music with contentful lyrics???
The celebration Hezekiah had to celebrate the re-opening of the Temple must have cost someone a lot of money. Verse 32-33 says, “The number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. The consecrated things were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep.” Christians today seem so willing to spend money on themselves but miss the joy of spending money on the Lord. After all, He is so rich already and owns the cattle on the side of the hill (Ps. 50:10) and we need our money! I don’t believe in tithing. There never was such a thing. Jews gave a minimum of 23 1/3 % as a tax. But God does want us to put Him first and promises a blessing if we do, “Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10).
The end result was that “all the people rejoiced” because it was all an unexpected blessing (v. 36).
New Testament: Romans 14:1-23
Romans 14:1-23 No Doubt
Paul feels the need to answer the question about eating meat offered to idols. Remember in Acts 15, Luke wrote about the council that was called to determine the place of the new Gentile believers in the body and what should be required of them. The outcome was that they should not eat animals that had been strangled or the blood of animals. Animals that had been strangled might still have blood in them and therefore they were outlawed. The reason for the prohibition was because there were still Jews who did not believe it was right to eat animals that had been sacrificed in pagan worship to idols (cf. Leviticus 17:10-14).
The short answer to the question: It’s OK to eat anything. The longer answer: don’t do anything to offend your brother. It might be OK to eat meat sacrificed to idols. After all, it would be good quality beef at discount prices! But since Jews who had trusted Christ saw the meat as tainted, they should abstain. Paul reminds the believers in verse 12, ” . . . each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (see blog Bema, Me Up, Scotty!). You might think it’s OK to listen to country music. I think it’s basically disgusting (slight exaggeration). So don’t listen to country music around me! I won’t listen to Metallica around you (just an illustration, I hate Metallica).
I once had listeners when I was on the radio who invited me to dinner. They gave me a gift I still use. It was a heavy-duty record shelf that they didn’t need anymore. They were only listening to Christian pop and didn’t need it anymore. They associated rock music with the time when they did drugs and, apparently, other things. They were surprised I listened to the Carpenters (again, just an illustration) and I was a little surprised they only listened to Christian pop. But we were great friends and we didn’t judge each other. I now still have that great shelf to store my Beethoven and Imperials records (cough, cough).
Not long ago, a pastor shared a helpful saying with me. “If in doubt, do without.” It’s not a bad motto and sums up verse 23, “but he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith.” The end of the verse is ” whatever is not from faith is sin.” Did you realize that anything you do that you can not do with faith in God is a sin? That is what this verse says. 1 Cor. 10:31 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” So that means everything you do should be done to the glory of God or you shouldn’t do it! That would include watching sports (Yankee games are the most righteous) or slurping a blizzard at DQ. Faith is ultimately what pleases God, “without faith it is impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is and [that] He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
But let’s get back to verse 22 which is very important. “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” Why is this verse so important? It is important for those of us with very sensitive consciences. It says that we shouldn’t browbeat ourselves over what we consider OK. If we can do whatever in faith, we should not feel guilty. If you can’t do whatever in faith, then don’t do it. If you like WWF, fine. Just shut it off if I come over.
Psalm 24:1-10 The Return Of The King A Worship Psalm Of Yahweh by David
Proverbs 20:12 Target
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23).
God wants our inner person to be pure. Paul said, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15).
So if you focus your inner self to what is pure, you’re on target.
Choose Life: Scripture: Romans 14:23 NASB “Doubting Doubt”
“But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23
This is a good verse to know. If you have a doubt about anything, then you shouldn’t do it. That’s what the verse says.
Here’s the problem. What’s a doubt? Is it an uneasy feeling? Is it an intellectual doubt? Is it something that conflicts with Scripture? What is a doubt?
Certainly, someone should follow Scripture no matter what. No killing. No adultery. You get the idea. But doubt comes in when we have to decide things in the gray areas. (Check out my blogs on being “led” by the Spirit, Get The ‘Led’ Out, Spiritual Sensitivity and Sensitivity To The Holy Spirit.)
To further complicate things, Jeremiah tells us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). In other words, we can’t trust ourselves. We are sinful. So now what? We can’t trust our doubts all the time and we can’t trust ourselves so what can we do?
The answer is locked inside our verse. The problem with the man who was “eating” in sin was not only that he had doubts but he wasn’t exercising faith! Faith is the key. James told us that God will not reward doubt (James 1:6-8). James also tells us that God does reward faith, “he must ask in faith” (James 1:6). James also tells us that God will give us wisdom unequivocally (a big word that means without reservation, no hooks, no caveats, no fine print, James 1:5).
The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is the only thing that will please God (Heb. 11:6). Paul wrote more than once that “the righteous will live by faith” (cf. Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; also Heb. 10:38).
Are you having doubts about anything you are doing or are about to do? When the smokes clears, are you able to act in faith?
If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Do you have doubts about anything in your life right now?
Something you could try is what we used to call in the sales biz, a Ben Franklin close. We used it to close sales. I don’t know why it was connected to ole Ben. Maybe he used it to sell lightning rods, I don’t know.
Draw lines for two columns on a piece of paper. In one column write the reasons why you should take a particular course of action. In the other column, write the reasons why you shouldn’t take the course of action. When you are done, you can visually see the reasons for and against the action you are considering. It might make things more clear for you and easier for you to act without doubts. Having more reasons in one column doesn’t make it the better choice. You might have only one thing in one column but it may outweigh all the considerations in the other column. Anyway, it’s something you can try.
The bottom line is that we should act in faith from a pure heart. God can always stop you if you listen to Him and you’re going in the wrong direction (cf. Paul, for example, in Acts 16:6-8).
Is there anything you have doubts about? Are you trusting God for wisdom and acting in faith?
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: No Doubt