Spiritual Rants: June 29 “Games of Thrones” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 2 Kings 15:1-16:20 Acts 19:13-41 Psalm 147:1-20 Proverbs 18:4-5

Old Testament: 2 Kings 15:1-16:20

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2 Kings 15:1-16:20   Games of Thrones

Here again is the chart of the kings.  Below I have listed the kings in the order given in Scripture highlighting Yahweh’s evaluation of each of them.  The name of any new king listed is also in bold print.

Kings Israel and Judah

 

1)  Good king in Judah:  Twenty-seven years after Jeroboam II was coronated, Azariah (son of Amaziah aka Uzziah) became king in Judah.  He was sixteen when he became king (see yesterday’s blog) and was king longer than any other king:  fifty-two years in Jerusalem, the capital.  He pleased Yahweh though he left the high places of idol worship intact.  Yahweh struck him with leprosy and he had to live in a separate house from everyone while his son, Jothan, reigned as co-regent.

2)  Good king in Judah:  Jotham, who was co-regent with his father, took over when his father died (v. 7)

3)  Bad king in Israel:  In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah of Judah, Zechariah, Jeroboam II’s son, took over for only six months.  He did evil like his ancestor, Jeroboam I.  Shallum killed him in a conspiracy and took his place.  Zechariah was the fourth of the four generations of kings that Yahweh had promised to Jehu.

4)  Bad king in Israel:  Shallum assassinated Zechariah in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah of Judah.  He lasted one month.

5)  Bad king in Israel:  Zechariah was offed by Menahem who assumed the regency.

6)  Bad king in Israel:  Menahem in Israel slew Zechariah coincidental with the thirty-ninth year of Azariah’s kingship in Judah.  He reigned in Samaria for ten years.  While Menahem was king he slaughtered everyone in Tirzah.  He ripped open the pregnant women.  He did not please Yahweh and did evil like so many other kings in the northern kingdom.

The king of Assyria came against Israel during Menahem’s reign.  Menahem extorted money from his rich people to pay off Pul of Assyria so he wouldn’t attack.  He made them each pay $380.44 so he could pay Pul $22,826,562.50.

7)  Bad king in Israel:  Pehahiah took over for Menahem coincidental with the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah.  He only reigned for two years.  He did evil like all his predecessors.  Pekah conspired against him and offed him in his castle in Samaria.  He did evil in God’s sight.

8)  Bad king in Israel:  Pekah followed Pehahiah in the fifty-second year of Azariah’s reign in Judah.  He reigned for twenty years.  He was evil, too.  (Surprise.)  He committed all the sins of the original northern king, Jeroboam.  The king of Assyria attacked him and took seven towns in the land of Napthtali and took the inhabitants captive back to Assyria.

9)  Bad king in Israel:  Hoshea conspired against Pekah, killed him, and took his place.  He was the last king of the northern kingdom, Israel.

10)  Good king in Judah:  During the second year of Pekah’s reign in Israel, Jothan took over in Judah.  He was twenty-five years old and reigned for sixteen years.  He pleased Yahweh though he, too, failed to tear down the high places of idol worship.

11)  Bad king in Judah:  In the seventeenth year of Pekah’s reign in Israel, Ahaz became the king in Judah.  He was only twenty years old when he took over and lasted sixteen years in Jerusalem.  He was bad and acted like the kings of Israel.  He even made his sons pass through the fire as in pagan rituals.  He not only allowed the idol worship on the high places but participated himself in that kind of worship.  The king of Aram, Rezin, and Pekah came against Ahaz and besieged him.  They did not prevail though Rezin was able to take the town Elath back.

Ahaz asked the king of Assyria for help.  Ahaz sent the treasure that was in the Temple and his own house to the king as a present.  The king of Assyria decided to help him and captured Damascus and took all the people back to Assyria and put Rezin to death.

Ahaz went to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria.  Ahaz had his priest construct an altar in Damascus and then he came up and sacrificed on it.  Then he had most everything removed before the king of Assyria got there.

12)  Good king in JudahHezekiah was the next regent in Israel.  He was a mostly good king but finished poorly.

Here is today’s tally.  Four good kings who were descendants of David in Judah.  One bad king in Judah.  Eight bad kings in Israel that were descendants of Jeroboam I.

New Testament:  Acts 19:13-41

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Acts 19:13-41  A Bunch Of Turkeys

Some Jewish exorcists, including seven sons of the high priest, tried to cast out demons by the name of Jesus.  One of the demons said, “I know Jesus and Paul but who are you?”  The demon-possessed  man jumped on them all and beat them up and stripped all their clothes off!  The story spread amongst all the Jews and Gentiles in Ephesus and caused fear in the whole area and caused people to glorify Jesus.

Many people in the area brought all their books of magic and burnt them in a large bonfire.  The worth of all the books was around $6 million (cf. ESV Study Bible).   The people in the area were really learning the power of the Word!

Paul wanted to go to Rome but wanted to encourage and strengthen the churches in Macedonia and Achaia in Greece first.  He sent Timothy and Erastus away from him to Macedonia.  Paul, himself, stayed in the Asian area of Turkey for a while.

While in Turkey, in Ephesus, Paul about ruined the business of a silversmith named Demetrius who made silver images of the goddess Diana.  Demetrius was saying that Paul would ruin all the businesses associated with the Temple of Artemis aka Diana, one of the seven wonders of the world.   Of course, this almost started a riot.  People started shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (v. 20).  The people dragged Paul’s pals, Gaius and Aristarchus, into the outdoor theatre.  People continued shouting and carrying on for two hours.  Most didn’t even know what was going on.  Finally, Alexander, one of the Jews, tried to calm everyone down and explain that the Jews weren’t responsible for any of this.  But the idol worshippers hated the Jews and shouted him down.

The head of the town council finally addressed the people saying that everyone in Ephesus knew that their centerpiece was the Temple of Artemis.  He said that the people they had brought forward, Paul and his friends, were not going to steal anything or ruin their worship.  The man said that if anyone had a legal dispute that the courts would hear them. He didn’t want any riots started for no reason at all and he told everyone to go home.

 

Psalm 147:1-20   Hymn By Anonymous

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Psalm 147:1-20   Jiving Jerusalem

This the second “Hallelujah” psalm, so-called, because it begins and ends with Hallelujah, aka, “Praise The Lord.”

Have you noticed how you are uplifted when you sing praises to the Lord (v. 1)?  We should always be praising the Lord, either in word or deed.  We can praise the Lord by the way we live.  We can witness to others by our actions or by showing them with a Bible how they can be saved (see How To Apologize).

Have you noticed that the Lord really likes Jerusalem?  He is going to reign there forever (v. 2, cf. Ps. 146:10; Mic. 4:7).

I love verse 3.  What a great promise!  God knows what we are going through.  Hebrews 4:15 says, speaking of Christ, ” . . . we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are yet without sin.”  Hebrews 2:11 says Jesus is our older brother.  What older brother would not look after His younger siblings.  If you’re down and troubled, and you need a helping hand and nothing is going right, you don’t need to listen to a Carole King song.  Call out for Jesus (cf. Jer. 33:3, God’s phone number).  He will even sew up your wounds.

Someone has been asking me how stars can seem to have been created billions of years ago if the world is only about four thousand years old as I believe (v. 4).  I told him that I didn’t think Adam and Eve were created as embryos and that the world was just dirt with seedlings.  God created things with the appearance of age.  However that problem is solved, God is cognizant of all the stars, even naming them (v. 4b)!  That is how great and powerful He is that He can create things that way (v. 5).

Since God is that powerful, He certainly can help those with problems (v. 6) and won’t let anyone get away with anything.  There will be justice for all (cf. Rev. 20:10-15).  God will balance all the books.

God provides for everyone (vv. 8-9, cf. Matt. 5:25-34).  For that we should sing songs of thanksgiving (v. 7).  Christ holds everything together (cf. Col. 1:17).  So He is able to provide for all His creatures.

He is stronger than horses or a strong man (v. 10).   Jesus seemed to favor John when He was here on earth.  John referred to himself as the one whom Jesus loved.  John was the one huddled closest to Christ (cf. John 13:23).  Sometimes one of my congregants or students think that I favor some over others.  I tell them I always favor the ones who want to be favored.  God is the same way.  If you want to be favored, show Him reverence and love Him (v. 11).  Trust Him for His hesed, “lovingkindness.”

God loves Jerusalem, protecting her (v. 13), speaking to her (v. 15), providing food (v. 14), clothing (v. 15), and water in summer and winter.  For that, all Israel, Jerusalem being the capital, should worship Yahweh (v. 12).

Yahweh gave Israel, aka Jacob, rules to live by (v. 19).  He did not show that kind of love to any other nation (v. 20).

For all God’s love and kindness, Israel should praise the Lord.

For the same reason, we should, too!

Proverbs 18:4-5   Power Preaching

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McGee links verse 4 to the saying of Jesus in John 7:38-40, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet [given], because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

The Old Testament is different in many ways from the New Testament.  The New Testament speaks mostly of the church age.  It is the age of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is mentioned much more in the life of the believer in the New Testament than the Old.  One reason is that believers are indwelt by the Spirit in the New Testament (cf. Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 3: 16).  Prominent believers in the Old Testament had the Spirit come “upon” them (cf. Judg. 14:6; 15:14; 1 Sam. 16:13; 19:13).

If the church seems a bit anemic these days, it could be because of the lack of teaching about the Holy Spirit.  There is no power without the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:8; John 15:5).  Perhaps that is why preachers lack words that are like “deep waters” and do not bubble up with wisdom (v. 4).

We have been warned before not to curry favor with rich people just because they are rich (v. 5, cf. Prov. 17:23; 23:2-3, 6).  James also warned churches not to favor the rich in no uncertain terms (cf. James 2:1-7).  This is another reason our churches today are so weak.  The rich rule them who tend to be devoid of any spirituality.  A pastor learns quickly to appease “the power people” in the church or he will lose his position.  It is not good to be partial to the rich in favor of the powerless poor.  A pastor must follow his conscience and do the right thing or lose his power in the pulpit.

 

Choose Life: Scripture:  Acts 19:15  NASB    “What Are You Wearing?”

“And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’”  Acts 19:15

 

The demons know who you are?   They didn’t “recognize” the Jewish exorcists who tried to cast them out by just using the name of Jesus.

I remember a comedian, years ago, who said, “the United States just ‘recognized’ the country of China.  What did they think that huge land mass was a few thousand miles east of us?”  He was basing his humor on a the normal use of the word “recognize” versus the political meaning that the U.S. was going to have diplomatic relations with China.  Of course, they knew that huge land mass filled with millions of people was China.

The demons probably knew who the Jewish exorcists were.   They just didn’t recognize that they had the power of Jesus or the disciples.  The Jewish exorcists weren’t clothed in Christ.  If you study the armor of God that Paul tells us to wear in spiritual warfare, you’ll find that all the parts of the armor represent aspects of Christ.  To encounter our spiritual enemies, we need to “put on” Christ.   Consider these verses:

1) Ephesians 4: 24, “and put on the new self, which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
2) Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to [its] lusts.”
3) Galatians 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

In encountering evil, we must be clothed in Christ.  The Jewish exorcists weren’t clothed in Christ.  That’s why they fled away “naked” (cf. v. 16).

What are you wearing?  Have you “put on” Christ?

 

If you have, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:  

 

Are you encountering evil in your life?  Are you experiencing spiritual oppression or opposition?  If you are living the Christian life in the right way, you will (cf. Eph. 6:12; 2 Tim. 3:12).

The word most used to explain how we live in the face of demonic attacks is “stand” (cf. Eph. 6:11, 13, implied in 15; James 4:8; 1 Pet. 5:9; the root of the word “resist” is the word “stand” in these passages).  (For more on spiritual warfare, check out the blog, Land, Ho! and the chapter on spiritual warfare from my book Spiritual Rants, Miracle on 82nd St.)

 

 

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:   Games Of  Thrones

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