Spiritual Rants: July 4 “The Final Four” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 2 Kings 23:31-25:30 Acts 22:17-23:10 Psalm 2:1-12 Proverbs 18:13

Old Testament: 2 Kings 23:31-25:30

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2 Kings 23:31-25:21 The Final Four

1)  Bad King In Judah:  Jehoahaz was not a good king.  He only reigned for three months.  Pharaoh Neco imprisoned him and fined Judah $2,306,718.75 of silver and $1,442,437.50
of gold.

2)  Bad King In Judah:  Jehoiakim was not a good king.  He was born Eliakim but the Pharaoh changed his name to Jehoiakim indicating he controlled Judah.  Jehoiakim paid off but taxed everyone to raise the money.  Jehoiakim was twenty-five when he became king and reigned for eleven years.   He also was involved in idol worship and was the puppet king of Egypt and Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharaoh Neco (cf. v. 7) and then came against Judah.  Jehoiakim submitted to Nebuchadnezzar for three years but then rebelled.  But Yahweh sent the Chaldeans, Arameans, Moabites and Ammonites against him.  Yahweh was punishing Judah for the sins of its King Manasseh and for killing people unnecessarily.

3)  Bad King In Judah:  Jehoiachin was not a good king.  He was Jehoiakim’s son.  Jehoiachin was eighteen when he took over and only lasted three months as king.  He was an idol worshipper, too.  The Jews were taken into exile and captivity to Babylon during his reign.

4)  Bad King In Judah:  Zedekiah was not a good king.  His real name was Mattaniah but the king of Babylon changed his name to show that he owned him.  He was twenty-one when he became king and ruled for eleven years.  He rebelled against Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem for two years.  When there was no food left for the people, he broke into the city and the Judean army and their king fled.  The Chaldean army pursued them and they scattered.  They captured the king who had been with them.  The Chaldeans killed the king’s sons in front of him and then poked his eyes out so that the last thing he saw was the slaughtering of his sons.   They bound him in bronze chains and took him to Babylon.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s captain, Nebuzaradan, burnt down all the landmarks in Jerusalem including the Temple, the Palace, and all the houses in town.  Then they took all the people into captivity to Babylon except the poorest people who were left to tend the farms.

The precious parts and utensils in the Temple were nothing to the Chaldeans but scrap metal so they broke everything down and brought it home with them.  They killed the most important priests and the high priest.

2 Kings 25:22-25:30  The End

Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah to be governor of Judah who swore to the people that he would be a benevolent dictator.  Despite that, after seven months, Ishmael came with ten men and struck down Gedaliah.  Then all the people fled to Egypt because they didn’t trust the Chaldeans.

Jehoiachin had been in exile for thirty-seven years, the new king of Babylon, Evil-merodoch (he wasn’t evil, that was just his name), released Jehoiachin from prison and let him eat at his table.  He gave him civilian clothing and ranked him above all the other captured kings.  He even gave him an allowance.

New Testament:  Acts 22:17-23:10

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Acts 22:17-23:10   Paul’s Speech Continued

11)   When Paul returned to the Temple in Jerusalem and was praying, he fell into a trance

12)  He could see Jesus telling him to get out of Jerusalem quickly because no one would believe he had done an about-face regarding Him

13)  Paul admitted to Jesus that there was cause to distrust him:  he had had Christians imprisoned and beaten and even protected those who killed Stephen

14)  Jesus told him that his mission was to go far from the Jews to the Gentiles with the Gospel

15)  The last statement really peeved the Jews who started calling for his head again, they started making a fuss, throwing their cloaks and dust into the air

16)  The commander thought that a scourging would cause Paul to spit out the reason everyone was thrown into an uproar when he spoke

17)  When Paul was about to be ripped, he asked the centurion in charge if it was lawful to whip an untried Roman who hadn’t been sentenced

18)  The centurion reported this information to his boss who asked Paul about being a citizen, saying he had become a Roman by paying an enormous amount of cash

19)  Paul said he was born a Roman which scared the commander who not only wasn’t supposed to beat a citizen but wasn’t supposed to have put him in chains!

20)  The next day the commander determined to find out why the Jews were in such an uproar over Paul and called a council of the chief priests with Paul as the honored guest.

Acts 23:1-10 Paul’s Trip Counciled

Paul addressed the council, looking them all right in the eyes.

He spoke thus:

1)  Paul said he had lived his life before God with a clean conscience every day of his life.

2)  The High Priest, Ananias, ordered those near Paul to sock him in the mouth.

3)  Paul called Ananias a “whitewashed wall” and rebuked him for that order which was in violation of the law.

4)  Others standing there asked Paul if he was talking back disrespectfully to Yahweh’s high priest which was against the law.

5)  Paul said, “I didn’t realize he was the high priest.  My bad.”

6)  When Paul realized that there were opposing groups of Jews (Pharisees and Sadducees), he declared that he, himself, was a Pharisee and from a family of Pharisees who had the hope of a resurrection.

7)  He did this on purpose to pit the two groups against each other and make a point about the resurrection.  Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection or angels or spirits in contrast to the Pharisees (that is why they are “sad you see” . . .  LOL).

8)  This really sent the group into a frenzy.  The experts in law of the Pharisees rose up in defense of Paul.  They said maybe a “spirit or an angel” had given him some good information (v. 9).

9)  The commander was afraid that the crowd would rip Paul limb from limb and ordered his guys to take him away and put him in the barracks.

 

Psalm 2:1-12    A Royal Psalm

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Psalm 2:1-12  Why Are The Nations P’O’d?

People don’t like God (check out Rom. 3:10-18).  So nations of people don’t like God either.  As I’m writing I’m listening to Handel’s Messiah and his rendition of this psalm.  You can hear the anger in God’s voice in that tune.  He’s not real happy with the nations either.

How does it all get resolved?  God is going to send His Son to rule over the nations.  Verse 7 originally referred to David becoming enthroned as king.  It also referred to the covenant God made with David (see A Toi Story for more on the Davidic covenant).  It also refers to Christ as the eternal benefactor of the Davidic covenant (cf. Heb. 1:5).

You don’t have to kiss anyone’s ring (v. 12 NIV).  But you do need to be right with Christ.

He is going to make the earth great again.

Proverbs 18:13   A Hearing Aid

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There’s a hysterical commercial that was shown lately. A man has a lady fortuneteller in his office to advise him on financial matters.  She finishes the man’s sentences for him since she’s a seer, she knows what he’s going to say.  But she’s always wrong.  It’s hysterical.  I guess you have to see it.

Verse 13 refers to a “him” but it could just as easily be a lady fortuneteller.

Don’t finish people’s sentences for them.  You’re not a fortuneteller.  It could be embarrassing.

James warns us to be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19).  We should take his advice.

 

Choose Life: Scripture: 2 Kings 25:7     NASB    “I Once Was Blind But Then . . . “

“They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon.” 2Kings 25: 7

 

I once was blind . . .  but then  . . .  I was still blind . . . .

Do you remember that song?  I don’t.  Probably because it was never written, as far as I know.  If it was ever to be committed to music, it would have to be about King Zedekiah.  Zedekiah was the last king of Judah.  The last thing he ever saw was his sons, the heirs to his throne, being slaughtered.  Then the Babylonians gouged his eyes out.  Pretty amazing cruelty, wouldn’t you say?

But think . . .  Zedekiah was the last king of Judah and was tortured with blindness.  Isn’t there symbolism here?  Wasn’t Judah blind to God’s will?  Zedekiah had rejected the prophet Jeremiah himself, refusing to surrender to Babylon and thus saving the Temple and the city of Jerusalem (Jer. 21; 38:1-6, 14-28).

Disobedience clearly has consequences.  One is blindness.

Are you acting on the light God has given you?

 

 

If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:  

One night, years ago, I was wondering if God had indeed called me to ministry.  I was attending Charles Stanley’s church at the time, teaching Sunday School to the college-age students.  The pastor of the college department told me to ask God for a rhema, a personal word from God (see blog Word!).  Here is the beginning of the Scriptures that “raised off the page” that night, “Listen and give heed, do not be haughty, For the LORD has spoken.  Give glory to the LORD your God, Before He brings darkness and before your feet stumble On the dusky mountains, and while you are hoping for light He makes it into deep darkness, and turns it into gloom” Jer. 13:15-16.

The point is, if we become entrenched in non-biblical ways, God may not shed any more light into our lives.  We won’t be able to advance in our Christian lives any more.  Some people have already become legalists and rooted in their ways.  But don’t you want as much of God as you can have?

Is there anything God has been tugging at you about but you don’t want to listen?  Now is the time to obey.

 

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:   Trip Counciled

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