Old Testament: 2 Kings 9:14-10:31
2 Kings 9:14-26 Dog-gone!
Did you think it was difficult to keep the kings names straight up till now? Notice here that we have a king named Joram. He is the same man as Jehoram in the KJV . This Jehoram/Joram is not the same person as the Jehoram who succeeded Jehoshaphat. Got that? Here is the chart again to help you tell your players:
There came a man named Jehu to assassinate Joram. As we last left Joram, he was in Jezreel nursing his wounds from the battle with Hazael of Aram. It turned out that Amaziah, the king of Judah, was visiting Joram at the time in Jezreel. The watchman could see a horseman and his company coming towards them. Joram sent out a horseman and then another to find out what was going on. The watchman reported that neither was coming back and that it looked like it was Jehu coming towards them because he was a reckless driver.
Both Ahaziah and Joram went out to meet Jehu. It turned out they were in the field of Naboth when they came together. Remember Naboth? He was the one who owned the field that Ahab had coveted. When Joram saw Jehu he said to him, “Is everything cool?” Jehu said, “How could everything be cool when you’re mother is a whore and a witch?” When someone talks like that, you know things are not good. Joram did a U turn and yelled to Ahaziah, “We’re in trouble!” Jehu drew his bow and let Joram have it right in the heart. Joram sank down in his chariot. Jehu had him thrown into Naboth’s vineyard, knowing that it fulfilled a prophecy about Ahab’s progeny.
Ahaziah saw what was going on and took off. Jehu had him shot in his chariot, too, and he died on the way to Megiddo. He was taken to Jerusalem and buried.
Jehu went to Jezreel where Ahab’s wife, Jezebel lived. She put on her makeup to try to seduce her assassin. Maybe she didn’t realize she was grandmother with a twenty-three year-old grandson and wouldn’t be successful seducing anyone. Anyway, as Jehu approached she called him a “Zimri” who was a king who had murdered his predecessor about fifty years earlier. Zimri only ruled for a week and then committed suicide so Jezebel may have been insinuating that it’d be best to make peace and align with her.
Jehu looked up at her in the window and asked if there was anyone on his side up there. Several of her eunuch servants were more than willing to toss her out. And they did. Jehu rode his horse over her a few times to make sure she was dead. He entered the house to have his first meal as king and then remembered that Jezebel was a queen and deserved a royal burial. He sent down a crew to take of the burying her but there wasn’t much of her left. There was just a skull, a couple feet and a couple hands. Every other part was eaten by local dogs which fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah that she and her husband’s blood would be lapped up by canines (1 Kings 21:23). Both she and her son, Joram, had died on the field she had so fiendishly stolen from Naboth.
2 Kings 10:1-17 Not Your Normal Jehu
Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. Jehu invited them to all go to Samaria to have the best of them fight each other to take over his father’s throne. The officials of Samaria, seeing that Jehu had already offed two kings, asked Jehu what he wanted. Jehu said to send him the heads of all seventy of Ahab’s heirs. So they sent him the heads in baskets that Jehu dumped in them in two heaps at the gates of Jezreel. Jehu announced to his people that it was all the will of the Lord as expressed in the prophecy of Elijah. Then Jehu killed all the rest of Ahab’s descendants in Jezreel. Not one of the forty-two them survived.
Jehu traveled to Samaria and on the way he came across some relatives of Ahaziah, who had been the king of Judah that he had offed. The group said they were coming to visit Ahab and Jezebel. Jehu had them taken alive and then killed at the pit of Beth-eked. He also tricked another of Ahab’s relatives to get into his chariot but he really was taking him to Samaria and offed all of Ahab’s relatives that were there.
2 Kings 10:18-31 My Aching Calves
Jehu tricked all the Baal worshippers to assemble by announcing he was going to worship Baal more than Ahab had. When all the Baal worshippers arrived at the temple of Baal, Jehu told one of the attendants to bring special robes for everyone. He told the attendant not to allow Yahweh worshippers to enter only Baal worshippers.
Jehu had surrounded the place with eighty men and told them that if anyone let any of the people inside to escape, he’d have to pay with his life. The worshippers offered their burnt offerings to Baal and when they were done, he sent his men in to kill them all. They burned the pillars of the house and completely broke it down so that it was later used as an outdoor bathroom.
In all his zeal, Jehu failed to get rid of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan which were erected by Jeroboam who was the first king of Israel and started all the false worship in that kingdom. Despite that, Yahweh commended him for getting rid of all the Baal worship and the family of Ahab. He promised to keep one of his descendants on the throne of Israel for four generations. In the end, Jehu would have to be judged an idol worshipper just like his ancient relative Jeroboam.
New Testament: Acts 17:1-34
Acts 17:1-9 Bailing Out
Paul and Silas stopped over at Thessalonica because there was a Jewish synagogue there. Paul “reasoned” on three Saturdays there with lots of rock music and choirs and testimonies of famous Greek soccer stars. Just kidding. He just “reasoned” with them (v.2) using the Bible that Jesus had to suffer and then rise from the dead. Some of them grasped what he was saying and believed. Some of the local Greeks and leading women also believed.
Many of the Jews got jealous and went so far as to form a mob and stirred everyone up. They went to the house of Jason and demanded that Paul and company be brought out. When they couldn’t find them, they dragged Jason before the city authorities. The charge was that Paul and co. had “turned the world upside down” and now were in their town. They supposedly were opposing the “decrees of Caesar” and saying there was another king, Jesus (v. 7). That stirred things up even more. Jason and his group had to pay bail to get freed.
Acts 17:10-15 Berean Brains
In contrast, at Berea, everyone was opening their Bibles and checking out everything Paul was teaching. But the Thessalonians heard about it and came to stir up trouble in Berea, too. So the fellowship sent Paul out but Silas and Timothy stayed to teach. Paul went as far as Athens and then Paul called for Silas and Timothy to meet him.
Acts 17:16-21 Brushing Up On Greek
Paul could feel his spirit gurgling up within him in Athens at the sight of so much idol worship. Paul gave the gospel in the synagogue but also out in the mall with whoever would listen to him. Epicureans were hedonists and the Stoics were just the opposite. Paul talked with both groups. They thought he was “babbling” (v. 18) and was preaching some kind of foreign gods. They brought him to the Areopagus so he could explain everything to them because it didn’t make any sense to them. The Areopagus is basically a rock formation in town that was used for people to express their views. People in Athens liked hearing about new philosophies.
The Areopagus with the plaque of Paul’s sermon.
Murder cases were heard here and perhaps also religious disputes were settled which would explain why Paul was invited to speak there. The Areopagus was also called Mars Hill.
Acts 17:22-34 Mars Hill Sermon
Paul told the Athenians:
1) Paul could see they were religious
2) Paul saw their altars and one had the inscription, “to an unknown god”
3) Since they worshipped an unknown god, Paul was there to let them know who the God was
4) He is the God who made all of heaven and earth and everything in them and does not live in human-made temples
5) He doesn’t need anything from anyone because He is the one who gives life and breath to everything else
6) He made humankind from one man (Adam) and determined how they would spread out from Him
7) He is not far from anyone since we move and have our being in Him
8) Some of the Athenian poets had written about Him, saying, “‘For we are indeed his offspring'”
9) Since we are children of God, it only makes sense that God also has a personality and is not like a rock or a piece of gold or something man made up
10) This God overlooked man’s ignorance in the past but now calls everyone to change their thinking
11) The reason He is calling for a change of thinking is because there will come a day of accountability to Him
12) The judging will come by a single man Whom He raised from the dead
When they heard of the concept of the Resurrection from the dead some poo-pooed it but others wanted to hear more.
Paul absconded but some left with him and believed. Dionysius the Areopagite was one and another was Damaris, a woman, along with some others, too.
Psalm 144:1-15 A Royal Psalm By David
Psalm 144:1-15 A New Song
This is the last lament psalm in the book of psalms. (Oh, don’t cry! We have mostly hymns and a royal psalm left.) It is the third to last psalm attributed to David.
As I age, I don’t care about so many things in this world. As a result, I am more content. I think that’s what Paul meant when he said, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Phil. 4:11 ).
The Scripture indicates that a nation has the right to defend herself and her people (cf. Rom. 13:3-4). This is a royal psalm, about the king. So everything in the psalm applies to David, or someone on the throne. Ultimately, it refers to Christ Messiah who will reign forever (cf. Luke 1:33; Rev. 1:6). God trained David in the things of war to protect His nation (v. 1). Audie Murphy, the World War 2 war hero and later movie star, used to recite verse 1 before going into battle. It was also recited in the movie Saving Private Ryan.
David only fought for Yahweh and so could trust a promise like that. He trusted that God would allow him to be victorious (v. 2).
He asks why God would even hear his prayer (vv. 3-4). A similar query is found in Psalm 8, verse 4, made famous by the song “How Majestic Is Your Name,” sung by Sandi Patti. Verse 4 sounds a lot like Ecclesiastes 1:2 that says that life is “meaningless” (NIV) or “vanity” (NASB). The Hebrew word is hebel. Translated literally, hebel means breath or vapor. James says the same in James 4:14, our life is like a vapor that quickly vanishes.
I think of life as a brief probationary period. We all have a short, limited time to trust Christ. It is pass-fail while we live. Trust Him, we pass. Refuse to trust him and we fail at the game of life, which is not much of a game after all.
David asks to be rescued from those who would destroy him (vv. 7-8). “Waters” in verse 7 symbolize chaos like it does in most of Scripture.
Verses 5-6 foreshadow the scene when Christ comes back and touches down on the Mount of Olives and the judgment of the earth at that time (cf. Zech. 14:4; Rev. 16:17-21).
David vowed to sing a new song to God after the judgment of his enemies. He would sing accompanied by his twelve-string guitar (v. 9). Wait, actually, a ten-stringed harp. He would sing because he knew God would rescue him (vv. 10-11).
He prays that the children of the nation would grow up in peace and prosperity (vv. 12-14). Everyone living in a time like that would be blessed (v. 15).
A time like that will come. Lions will lay down with wolves, leopards, calves, and lambs (cf. Isa. 11:6; 65:25). It will be a zoo but one where you don’t have to fear the animals or the human beings. It will be called the Millennium, when Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years and no one will oppose the nation of Israel (cf. Rev. 20:4, 6; Addendum To The End).
Everyone during that time will be singing a new song. Until then, God will give us hope and allow us to sing songs along the way (cf. Rom. 15:13; Titus 2:13; Ps. 42:8; 77:6).
Proverbs 17:27-28 Rudder Or Ruder
Jesus’ half-brother compared our tongues to the rudder of a boat. “Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things” (James 3:4-5).
Leaders, particularly, have to watch what they say (cf. James 3:1-2). Better not to say anything than to say the wrong thing. Some things just can’t be taken back. Better to think twice before saying anything (v. 27).
I used to have some friends who were very, very quiet. They had to be. They couldn’t get a word in edge-wise with me. They seemed like geniuses. Then they would speak.
A lesson could be learned from them. Keep your mouth shut and many people will think you are very wise (v. 28).
Scripture: Acts 17: 11 NASB “Be’rean All That You Can Be”
“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11
Has anyone ever called you a Berean? That’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. When Paul, that is, the famous, venerated, Apostle Paul, came to town to teach them, the Christians in Berea listened to what he had to say. But they were so excited, they also got their Bible scrolls out and checked everything that he taught them against Scripture. That is a good model for us.
As a pastor, I always warn everyone that when they stand before the Lord to give an account of their lives, they shouldn’t appeal to me as their authority. They can’t say to Christ on that day, “Well, Jerry said . . . .” That’s not going to hack it (see blog, Bema Me Up, Scotty!).
Everyone is responsible to check Scripture for everything they do and believe in life.
If you do, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!
Have you been taught some things that you think may not be Scriptural? You are responsible to check it out. If you are being taught that you need to be moral to be saved, you should check that out. In fact, if you are being taught that you have to be moral to stay saved, you should check that out, too. Also, don’t fall for the idea that “repentance” means that you have to “feel sorry” for your sins. You can’t add to Christ’s work. Feeling sorry isn’t going to help you grow in holiness. Check that one out, too. But don’t tell Jesus that you don’t believe in “feeling sorry” for your sins because Jerry told you. (See blog Changing Your Mind.)
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: Not Your Normal Jehu