Spiritual Rants: June 30 “Dept. Of Redundancy Dept.” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 2 Kings 17:1-18:12 Acts 20:1-38 Psalm 148:1-14 Proverbs 18:6-7

Old Testament: 2 Kings 17:1-18:12

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2 Kings 17:1-23   Trippin’ Out

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

Bad (Last) King In Israel:  Coincident with the twelfth year of Ahaz in Judah, Hoshea became king in Israel for nine years.  He submitted to the king of Assyria and paid him taxes though he apparently allowed his people to go to Jerusalem sacrifice.  He tried to pull a fast one by aligning himself with the king of Egypt but that was a mistake since Egypt couldn’t help him.  So the king of Assyria marched on Hoshea and took him captive and besieged Samaria for three years.  Samaria collapsed in the ninth year of Hoshea and was taken captive into Assyria ending the over two hundred years of history of the northern kingdom (931- 722 b.c.).

This occurred because the northern kingdom did not follow the commands of the Lord (v. 7-23, esp. v. 16, 19) and followed the ways of their first king, Jeroboam I.

2 Kings 17:1-23  Not Lyin’

The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and a few other places and settled them in the Samarian regions.  They had no regard for Yahweh though they were living in His land.  So the Lord sent lions who killed some of them.  The new inhabitants complained that they didn’t know the customs of Israel and were punished for it.  So the king of Assyria told them they could have a a priest live there from amongst the exiles to teach them.  But they still made idols according to their own customs and still sacrificed their children by burning them.

These new inhabitants feared the Lord but they continued in their pagan ways.

2 Kings 17:1-12   Not Hesitating

Good King In Judah:  Coincident with the third year of Hoshea in Israel, Hezekiah became king in Judah for twenty-nine years.  He was twenty-five when he took over.  He was a good king and pleased Yahweh. He removed the high places of idol worship including the Asherah poles with images of female deities.  He also destroyed the bronze serpent made by Moses because Israel had been burning incense to it.

Hezekiah was the best of all the kings in the southern kingdom.  He wholeheartedly worshipped Yahweh and kept his commandments.

Yahweh prospered him.  He successfully warded off the king of Assyria and defeated the Philistines.

The king of Assyria besieged Samaria in the fourth year of Hezekiah’s reign.  In Hezekiah’s sixth year, the northern kingdom was taken into exile because Yahweh was sick of them disobeying Him.  They refused to follow the laws of Moses and paid dearly for it.

New Testament:  Acts 20:1-38

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Acts 20:1-16   Not So Cute, Eutychus

After things calmed down in Ephesus, Paul took off for northern Greece, Macedonia.  He spent three months in lower Greece when the Jews tried to exterminate him.  So he caught a boat to Syria to return to northern Greece.  During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, he left from Philippi for Troas where he stayed for seven days.

On a Sunday, Paul started teaching and continued past midnight that day.  A young man named Eutychus was sitting on the window sill.  It was apparently way past his bed time and he slipped into a deep sleep and fell three stories and died.  Paul went down and laid down on top of him and then pronounced him alive.  He went back upstairs and starting eating and speaking again until daybreak.  Then he took off.  The boy was fine.

Paul passed down the coast of Turkey with the goal of being in Jerusaelem by the day of Pentecost.

Acts 20:17-38   Goodbye Ephesus

After Paul left Miletus he came to Ephesus to address the elders of the church there.  He said

1)  He had never been afraid to tell them whatever God wanted them to know despite threats from the Jews

2)  He taught them in their houses

3)  Paul preached that they had to change their minds about God and to trust Him in faith

4)  Paul was on his way to Jerusalem and didn’t know what would await him there except the Holy Spirit told him he’d be bound

5)  Paul’s afflictions didn’t bother him because he didn’t care whether he stayed alive or not.  He only wanted to do what God wanted him to do and preach about God’s grace.

6)  Paul told them they wouldn’t see him again but was comforted that he told them everything about salvation and God’s purposes

7)  Paul told them that “wolves” would come to devour the sheep in the flock.  Some of them would actually be some of the wolves who would try to cause the sheep to stray.

8)  Paul wanted them to remember that he had spent three years there exhorting them with all his heart.

9)  Paul wanted them to continue in the Word so they would get their full inheritance by being faithful in growing in holiness.

10)  Paul reminded them that he never wanted to make a lot of money off them but basically paid his own way to sustain himself and his friends.

11)  Paul wanted to model hard work and generosity since Jesus had said, “‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Paul knelt down and prayed with them after he had finished speaking.  They all hugged and cried and kissed Paul.  The thing that upset them most was that Paul said they’d never see him again.  They all went with him down to his ship.

 

Psalm 148:1-14   Hymn By Anonymous

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Psalm 148:1-14  Dept. Of Redundancy Dept.

This the third “Hallelujah” psalm that begins and ends with Hallelujah, aka, “Praise The Lord.”

One of the most important things you can do when attempting to interpret Scripture is look for things that repeat.  Can you find anything that repeats in this psalm?  God uses repetition for things that are important.  Praising the Lord is important.

As we try to break out this psalm, if we ask some basic questions, we can see that there is more than just redundancy and repetition in this psalm.  Besides repetition, other things you can look for when interpreting Scripture are the answers to these questions:  Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How.  Verses 1-4 state that the angels including the good angels, the bad angels and the devil, in other words, all beings in the heavens, and everything in the cosmos should praise the Lord.  So verses 1-4 answer the “who” question.

How can the cosmos praise God?   Answering the “how” question, they reflect His magnificence.  They just have to stay where they are to praise Him!  God created them (v. 5).  He sustains them (v. 6, cf. Col. 1:17).

Verse 6 also answers the “when” question.  The answer is we are to praise God forever.

Verses 7-12 contains answers to more of the “what” question.  Gigantic fish, weather, terrain, plants, mammals, birds, leaders of nations, and all people should be praising the Lord.  Of course, the static items in the list will praise the Lord as we with brains recognize God’s great handiwork.  Otherwise, they are just  . . .  there.

Of course, verse 7 also answers the “where” question.  We are to praise Him on earth, everywhere, wherever we go.

I love when the Scripture says that God’s glory is above the earth and heaven (v. 13, cf. Ps. 57:11; 108:5; 113:4).  That is up there!  One day we will share His glory with Him (cf. 1 Pet. 5:1, 10; 2 Thess. 2:14).

A horn (v. 14) represents the strength of Israel (cf. 1 Sam. 2:1, 10; Ps. 89:17; 132:17).  Verse 14 answers the “why” question.  We should praise God because He will protect and exalt his people, Israel.  He will do the same for us!  Praise Him!

I hate to be redundant, but praise Him, praise Him!

Proverbs 18:6-7    Fuel For Fools

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When we see the word “fool” in Scripture, especially Proverbs, we could think, “idiot.”  There are idiot’s guides for about anything that you can find on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.  That’s because we’re all idiots.  In fact, before we’re saved, we’re all fools (cf. Rom. 3:9-18, 23).  So don’t be feeling so high and mighty.

Someone defined evangelism as two beggars sharing bread.  But whenever I teach, I think of myself in teaching any spiritual truth as a beggar sharing bread.  We are all fools in need of grace.

After all, who is the fool if it’s not the one who rejects God’s offer to know Him (cf. John 17:3) and live eternally with Him?   That must be the ultimate foolishness.  Which is why “fool” is basically code for an unsaved person in Proverbs.

Fools are usually getting into trouble.  They are wise guys that aren’t wise.  They are begging for someone to slug them in the mouth (v. 6).

A fool’s language always gets him into trouble (v. 7a).  Their utterances also keep them from learning the truth and learning about salvation.  That is why it is always best to keep your answers short when witnessing.  Answer questions as briefly as possible (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15).  Always keep the conversation centered on Christ and not how much you know.  It is only Christ that will save a person (cf. 1 Cor. 2:2).

 

Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 20:9  NASB    “Fortunate Son”

“And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead.”  Acts 20:9

 

This is one of the funniest stories in the Bible.  Paul is preaching in Troas, a boy named Eutychus must have worked all day before coming to church.  How else could he have fallen asleep while listening to the  great Apostle Paul?  OK, it could have been the heat generated by the candles (cf. v. 8) and full house causing the large room to be stuffy.  So Eutychus tried to stay awake getting fresh air in the window.  It probably didn’t help that Paul preached so long that it was approaching midnight (v. 7).  And people tell me I preach for a long time!  (Sometimes I get excited!)  Paul knew so much, I’m sure he couldn’t wait to share it all.  My wife tells me I don’t have to tell everyone everything I know every time I preach.  A friend told me to leave people wanting more.  The truth is sometimes preachers who have really studied can carry on a while.

Anyway, whatever the circumstances, Eutychus fell asleep while listening to Paul while sitting on the window sill fell asleep and fell three stories to his death!  This wouldn’t have been funny at all except that Paul went down to street level after him and revived the young man (v. 10).  The name Eutychus literally means, “fortunate.”  So he was living up to his name.

So what is the morale of the story?

1)  Don’t work too hard before going to a long church meeting?

2)  Don’t sit in a windowsill without seat belts overlooking a three story drop?

3)  If you’re totally devoted to the Lord, He can use you as an object lesson on resurrection?

Eutychus refused to pass up the opportunity to hear the Apostle Paul though he was most likely exhausted.

What keeps you from hearing good teaching?  Do you look for opportunities to hear great preaching and sit in on insightful, Biblical teaching?

 

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

Fun Application:  

In verse 12, Eytychus is called a pais.  That may have meant he was a young boy but it also could have meant that he was a servant.  He probably had served people all day long before coming to church.  What kind of excuses do you have for not coming to church.  Eutychus may have been exhausted before the service started and yet he attended anyway, even trying to stay awake by seating himself near some fresh air.  Though he fell asleep and fell out the window, God took care of him.  Like Mary, he had chosen the better part (cf. Luke 10:42).

We are to be of the day and stay awake (1 Thess. 5:5-6).  That doesn’t mean we can’t attend night services!  Of course, this service lasted throughout the night and into the dawn (v. 11).

What keeps you from attending good teaching?  If your preacher is preaching the Word, do you complain about how long he goes?  You might be missing a blessing that those in Troas refused to miss.

 

 

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 So Cute, Eutychus

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