Old Testament: 2 Kings 13:1-14:29
2 Kings 13:1-13 Jehoahaz, Joash aka Jehoash, Jeroboam again
Here is the chart of the kings again.
Jehoahaz became king after Jehu. He reigned for seventeen years. As most of the kings of Israel, he is described as having done “evil in the sight of the Lord” and was like the first king of northern Israel, Jeroboam. Yahweh was not pleased with them and kept allowing them to be punished by Hazael of Aram and his son, Ben-hadad.
Jehoahaz pled for mercy from Yahweh to given them relief from their oppressors. Yahweh sent Israel a deliverer (v. 5) but the people of the northern kingdom continued in the same sin of worshipping idols. Jehoahaz’ army dwindled through battle to only fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers.
After Jehoahaz, his son Joash aka Jehoash became king in the northern kingdom. He was in charge for sixteen years. He also “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (v. 11). He acted like his forefather, Jeroboam, in allowing idol worship. The northern kingdom doesn’t seem to be able to shake that stuff. The sins of the fathers are truly passed down . . . In fact, his son reigned after him and his name? Jeroboam, the same as the first king of the northern kingdom.
2 Kings 13:14-25 Oh, Shoot!
Elisha incurred a terminal illness so King Joash came to him. Joash was concerned about the fate of the northern kingdom. Elisha told him to take his bow and arrow and shoot. Elisha said it was the Lord’s victory arrow because he would defeat the Arameans. Then he told Joash to strike the ground with his arrows and he struck the ground with them three times. Elisha was really angry and told him he should have struck the ground at least five times. It would have taken that many attacks to totally annihilate the Arameans but he only struck three times.
Then Elisha passed away and was buried. An amazing miracle followed. The grave diggers noticed a raiding party of Moabites about ready to attack so they just threw the body of a man into the grave of Elisha. The dead man’s body touched the bones of Elisha and was revived and stood up!
During the days of Jehoahaz, Hazael of Aram continually harassed the northern kingdom but Yahweh spared them because of his covenant going all the way back to Abraham. When Hazael finally died, Ben-hadad took his place and Jehoash (Joash) was able to take back all the cities Hazael had won in battle. Joash (Jehoash) defeated him three times just as Elisha had indicated.
2 Kings 14:14-29 Leave well enough alone!
Amaziah reigned in Judah, the southern kingdom following his father Joash (aka Jehoash but not the same one as in the northern kingdom!). He was only twenty-five when he took over and was in charge for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. He did pretty well spiritually as king but not as good as David. He allowed all the same idol worship that his father Joash had. Once he was firmly in control of the government, he slayed his father’s assassins. He wouldn’t off the sons of the slayers, though, according to the law of Moses (Deut. 24:16).
Amaziah won a huge victory, beating the Edomites in the Valley of Salt leaving 10,000 causalities and then also took in another city in Edom.
Amaziah challenged Jehoash of the northern kingdom to a fight. Jehoash said something about a thorn bush and a wedding but what he meant was that the southern kingdom should chill. Just because they had beaten Edom didn’t mean they could be beat against the north. They should just stay at home and bask in their glory and leave well enough alone.
Amaziah decided not to take Jehoash’s advice and suffered the consequences. Israel beat Judah so badly that the southern soldiers all ran back to their home towns. To add insult to injury, Jehoash captured Amaziah, then tore down the wall in front of Jerusalem. He stole all the gold and silver out of the Temple and the palace. He also took hostages and went back to his home base in Samaria.
Jeroboam then took over for Jehoash in the northern kingdom. (See second paragraph down.)
Azariah aka Uzziah took over for Amaziah in Judah. Amaziah was assassinated after he fled to Lachish when he heard about the plot on his life. He was returned to Jerusalem for burial. Azariah was only sixteen years-old when he assumed leadership of the country.
Meanwhile, in Samaria, Jeroboam became king in the northern kingdom. (This coincided with the fifteenth year of Amaziah’s reign in the south.) He was known as Jeroboam II so as not to be confused with the original king of Israel and the original propagator of evil and idol worship. He fulfilled the prophecy of Jonah (yea, that Jonah!) by restoring the border of Israel and actually acquired Damascus and Hamath by taking it from Judah. He was king for forty-one years which is a longer reign than any other king of Israel. Though Yahweh was not pleased with the spirituality of the northern kingdom, He protected them through the rule of Jeroboam II.
When Jeroboam II died, Zechariah took over.
New Testament: Acts 18:23-19:12
Acts 18:23-19:12 Missionary Trip, Take 3
After spending time at his home base of Antioch in Greece, Paul moved on to the Galatian and Phrygian regions encouraging all the disciples in the churches there.
A man who had been a disciple of John the Baptist showed up in Ephesus. He was Jewish but Alexandrian by birth. He was well-taught in the things of the Lord and was teaching in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they corrected some his doctrine in points and tightened up his theology. He wanted to go to the Achaia area in Greece so he was sent out by the fellowship. He was able to correct the Jews regarding Jesus by using the Old Testament Scriptures.
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul was in Ephesus and came across some disciples of John The Baptist. They had been baptized by John but they didn’t know anything at all about the Holy Spirit. Paul clarified their understanding of the baptism of John versus the baptism of Jesus and then they were baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus. Paul laid his hands on them and when he did, they began speaking in languages they hadn’t learned and began prophesying. There were twelve of these men.
Paul started preaching in the synagogue in Corinth and he kept it up for three months. Again, he was “reasoning” with them and teaching about the kingdom of God. Some of the Jews were belligerent so Paul moved to the lecture hall of Tyrannus. He taught there for two years with the result that all of the Jews and Gentiles in the Asian province in Turkey heard the Word of God.
Amazing miracles were being done by God through the Apostle Paul. Even his handkerchiefs and parts of his clothing were used to heal people and cast out demons!
Psalm 146:1-10 Hymn By Anonymous
Psalm 146:1-10 Help! I Need Somebody!
The remaining psalms are hymns of praise. What a great way to conclude a great book. The psalmist begins by exhorting everyone to praise the Lord (v. 1). Everyone will praise the Lord someday. Every knee will bow to Christ (cf. Phil. 2:9-11). Whether from Heaven or from Hell, every created being will praise the Lord.
The psalmist may praise the Lord in Heaven forever but his concern at this point is to praise the Lord on earth (v. 2). Did you know you can praise the Lord with your life? You don’t have to go around saying “Praise the Lord” to everyone, though you could. A better way to praise the Lord is to live such a life that others question what’s different about you. You can do that in your office or in your job. Christians already have a different smell about them (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14, see A Good Stink). When we act like Christians, people notice.
When we leave this earth, we can no longer have an effect here (v. 4). We should take advantage of the opportunity to lead people to Christ while we are here. There won’t be anyone to lead to Christ in Heaven. Everyone is already saved up there!
We might think that the more we cozy up to powerful people, the more power we will have (v. 3). But the All Powerful One (vv. 6-7) is the one we should trust. He alone has the power to save us from every situation including sin. Of course, He saves us from the worst sin, rejecting Christ. If we trust Him, we will live with God forever (cf. Eph. 2:8-9).
The twelve patriarchs were all sons of Jacob (v. 5). Jacob was later called Israel. All salvation comes from the Israelites and a son of Jacob, Jesus. When the Bible speaks of a “son,” it can mean any generation of descendant, technically speaking.
When you feel down, try witnessing to someone about the Lord (vv. 6-7). You’d be surprised how that will cheer you up. That is one way of praising the Lord. Another way to praise God is with our lips (cf. Heb. 13:15). We can thank Him for giving us food and providing food for others.
He sets free all who are bound in any way and trust in Him (v. 7c). Sometimes He does that while we are on terra firma. Sometimes he sets us free by taking us to Heaven. Don’t rush getting to Heaven. Do God’s will and let Him decide our time of arrival up there. I had a preacher say that at a funeral. Sometimes older people lose their friends and want to speed up their spiritual journey. Don’t. Serve the Lord (cf. Josh. 24:15).
Years ago a fella in my college dormitory challenged me to read John 9, the story of a blind man healed by Jesus. I kept telling him I didn’t know where John 9 was in the Bible. He was persistent. I opened right to John 9 after he handed me his New Testament. God had gotten my attention. Not long after, I prayed to know God through Christ. The fella explained to me that though the blind man had been physically healed, more importantly, he was able to see spiritually.
Verse 8 states that the Lord opens the eyes of blind people. He heals some physically. He heals all who call upon Him, spiritually (cf. Isa. 55:6). He does not wish that any go to Hell (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9).
God loves righteousness. He makes everyone righteous through Christ who becomes a Christian (v. 8c, cf. 1 Cor. 1:30). Did you realize that if you’ve trusted Christ, you are righteous in God’s eyes? Theologically, that’s called “positional righteousness” or “positional sanctification.” Try using those terms at your next dinner party. It means God sees us as He sees Christ. Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness. But our job is to act out His righteousness. That’s called “practical sanctification.”
God should be praised because He takes care of everyone, even Gentiles, orphans and widows (v. 9). He sends rain and sunshine on the evil and righteous alike (cf. Matt. 5:45). But He enjoys tripping up the unsaved.
The best way to lead someone to the Lord is to try to “throw a wrench” into “their works” (v. 9c). If you can get the gears of their mind to grind to a halt, they can think outside their boxes. Sometimes, then, the Holy Spirit can convict them and open their minds to the Lord (cf. John 16:8).
The God of Jacob, the Jews and Jerusalem, will rule over the universe forever, as He always has (v. 10). But someday, in a special way, the Descendant of Jacob and David, Jesus, will reign over the world. Right now, the devil is in charge (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2). But he will be deposited into his future home, the lake of fire, bequeathing control of the earth to Christ (cf. Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
What a wonderful day that will be! Christ will reign over the cosmos forever! Praise the Lord! I can hardly wait!
John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
Proverbs 18:2-3 Text Messages
One of my favorite proverbs is, “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool” (Prov. 17:10).
A fool is hard to reach (v. 2). They don’t use reasoning. They don’t read the Bible even if they are Christians. A fool in Proverbs is generally code for an unbeliever but many Christians are also fools. Technically, they are “carnal” or “fleshly” (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-3 KJV NASB).
We have a whole generation now that does not use their minds. They are basically mindless. Not all of them but a lot. It is the fault of our generation. We made things too easy for them: calculators, computers, smart phones, electronic games. They no longer have to think. Who can blame them? Many cannot make change when at cashier jobs. Soon they won’t be able to sign their names in cursive. Prty sun evrythg will be in txt lingo. LOL.
Have you tried to explain the gospel to anyone lately? Have you been in a church where the gospel was explained to you? I was in a meeting of pastors that supposedly wanted to reach the city with the gospel. I asked what I thought was an obvious question. I asked them, “What is the gospel?” No one could tell me. I told them I wondered how we could spread the gospel if we didn’t agree or know what it was? The pastors group never met again, to my knowledge. Maybe they just didn’t invite me.
By the way, the gospel is on the first page of my website, in the right-hand column under How To Be Sure You’re Going To Heaven (no fine print, no caveats).
Fools only want to hear themselves speak (v. 2b). They love the sound of their own voice. Some of them are wicked. Wicked people cause good people to scatter (v. 3a). Most people don’t like them (v. 3b). A wise person is out looking for wisdom and will avoid fools.
Who are you hanging with these days? Bad company will corrupt you (cf. 1 Cor. 15:33). They don’t want to hear what the Bible says only what they believe. Many of them will text but won’t read the Text. What kind of person are you?
Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 19:2 NASB “Baby And Bathwater”
“He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:2
When I was first saved I got confused over the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It took me years to feel sure I understood I wasn’t missing anything. In the book of Acts it appears that people were getting saved and then receiving the Holy Spirit later, after they were saved.
The Apostles believed in Christ and Jesus had even given them the Holy Spirit (possibly temporarily, John 20:22) before receiving Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4).
A case could be made that Paul was saved and then later received the Spirit when Ananias visited him (Acts 9:17).
The Samaritans had already heard of Jesus and were seeking out Peter (Acts 10:19; 38) before Peter came to speak to them. It was after that, while listening to Peter, that they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44).
In our verse today, the believers in Acts 19 hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit. They appeared to be believers since they had been baptized by John the Baptist. So it appears they received the Holy Spirit after they were saved, too.
Voila, five examples above that show that believers need to be “baptized by the Spirit” after they’ve already believed. But here is what is really happening. Acts 1: 8 is the outline of the entire book of Acts, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” God is doing a new thing. It is a new era of the church (aka a dispensation, see blog You’re Probably A Dispensationalist). The book of Acts is a book of history and should be understood as history. It is descriptive. It is not prescriptive. It tells us what happened. It doesn’t tell us what should happen. Paul’s writings and the epistles tell us what is normal for the Christian, we receive the Spirit when we are saved (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; see blogs, Get The Led Out and Hanging Together Or Hanging Separately).
Just because one group of Christians say we receive the Spirit in stages doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t study the work of the Holy Spirit at all. We shouldn’t throw the proverbial baby out with the proverbial bath water.
Are you aware of the work of the Holy Spirit? Is He alive in you? Are you aware of what Scripture tells us about all this?
If you are, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!
Find a good study guide on the Holy Spirit or use the chain reference in a Thompson Chain Reference Bible to study the work of the Holy Spirit. There is always a section on the Holy Spirit in a good Study Bible like the Ryrie Study Bible, Life Application Bible, or the NIV Study Bible. The Holy Spirit Himself will help you in your study (cf. 1 John 2:20, 27).
Don’t be like the believers in Ephesus who said they had never heard about the Holy Spirit. The Ephesian believers could not have known about the Holy Spirit. But it is the believer’s responsibility in this era to know about the Holy Spirit and His work.
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: Oh, Shoot!