Spiritual Rants: July 29 “Chest Here” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28 Romans 12:1-21 Psalm 22:19-31 Proverbs 20:8-10

Old Testament:  2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28

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2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28   Chest Here

Here are the parallels in Kings to our section for today:

2 Kings 11:12-12:16                                                  2 Chron. 24:1-14

2 Kings 12:17-21                                                         2 Chron. 24:23-27

2 Kings 14:1-20                                                 2 Chron. 25:1-28

2 Chronicles 24:15-22  is unique.

I have written on kings Joash and Amaziah here:

That’s Athaliah, Folks!

Oh, Shoot!

 

Joash wasn’t the worst king in the world.  He just wasn’t that good either.  He became king when he was seven (v. 1).  Have you noticed how many times a king’s mother is mentioned in all these accounts?   There is a reason.  A mother is a great influence.  In most instances, she is a bad influence in these accounts because she is involved in idol worship.  Joash’s mama is mentioned in verse 1.

Joash only took two wives for himself.  I say “only two” because most kings took many more.  Of course, the limit was supposed to be one according to Mosaic law.  I’m guessing the high priest, who had done a terrific job during Joash’s lifetime, must have fallen down on the job since he is mentioned in the affair.

Joash actually did well as long as the high priest, Jehoiada, was in charge.  But Jehoida couldn’t live forever and died at age 130 (v. 15).  He must have been slipping in his old age because when Joash ordered the Temple to be refurbished, nothing happened so that Joash had to call Jehoiada on the carpet.  It turns out the  sons of the wicked Queen Mother Athaliah had broken in the Temple and used the utensils for Baal worship.  So Joash commanded that a chest be made to receive donations to refurbish the Temple (v. 8).  Some churches today do something similar and put out what they call a “Joash chest” to receive donations.

Enough money was taken in to build up the Temple again.  But then Jehoiada died and his son, Zechariah, came to warn Joash that he was falling away from the Lord.  So Zechariah was given a “prophet’s reward” and was murdered by Joash.  As he was dying, Zechariah asked Yahweh to avenge his death (v. 22).  Arameans attacked Judah, leaving Joash ill in bed.  It was then that his servants murdered him for his cruelty to Zechariah.  This same Zechariah is mentioned by Jesus in Matt. 23:35 and Luke 11:51.  It is not the same prophet who wrote the book of Zechariah.  (Jesus referred to Abel in the beginning of the first book of the Bible and Zechariah at the end of what was the last book in the Hebrew canon.  So he picked martyrs from A – Z and first to last.)

I have already written on Amaziah in the June 28 blog.

New Testament:  Romans 12:1-21

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Romans 12:1-21 A Glow Worm

In the Old Testament, people brought animals and birds to sacrifice to Yahweh.  In the New Testament church age, we are to sacrifice ourselves.  I have been wondering lately why so many people who profess to be Christians do not know their Bibles and do not show much sign of actually following Christ.  Of course, the churches are weak in this era of Laodicea (explained in blog on Revelation 3 at the end of this year).  Churches do not talk hardly at all about sanctification.  (Did you just say, “What is sanctification?”)  But it has just dawned on me that churches do not teach discipleship.  Yet, Jesus said, ” . . .Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, [then] you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). And the purpose of a church is to make disciples.  In a list of gifts of people to the church, Paul states that the purpose of the gifted ones is for the “equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13).  Then I realized that even I, myself, in my work as a pastor, have not taught the promises of God to the church as I should have.  I could give anyone a check for a thousand dollars and they most likely would cash it (it would bounce sky-high, by the way!).  But if I teach them the great promises of the Word, they go away happy and do nothing with them.  As the venerable old preacher, Vance Havner, used to say, “too many people are sitting on the premises instead of standing on the promises.”  (“Standing on the Promises” is an old hymn, by the way.  Those words are probably never found in the schlock that is passing for music in our church today.  Write me if I’m wrong.)

Having said all that, notice the next verse, one of the most important in the Bible.  If I didn’t make it clear in our section on Romans 7 and Romans 8, let me make myself perfectly clear as one of our dear-departed presidents used to say.  The way to be a disciple is to “feed your head.”  Remember it was the law of Paul’s mind that won out in the battle with his flesh.  He says the same thing here in v. 2, ” . . . do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  John tells us in his epistle that we should not love the world (1 John 2:15-16).  Paul tells us not to be conformed to the world but, in contrast to be conformed to the world, we need to “renew” our minds.  What is the best way to “renew” our mind?  Feed it with the Word!  Memorize and study Scripture, listen to good preaching (good luck!) and fellowship with like-“minded” individuals.

Verse 3 is a warning against conceit.  Norman Geisler explains it well when he uses the illustration of a ball player.  When interviewed after a game, they usually talk pretty straight.  “Yeah, I was seeing the ball real well.”  “I just had a bad day out there today.”  Usually, not always, they “do not think more highly of [themselves] than” they should.  This is how we should be in our relations with others in the body.  It is OK to acknowledge that God has given us a gift.  We need the gifts God has given for the good the body.  But we are not to be “puffed up” (cf. 1 Cor. 4:6 KJV and 1 Cor. 8:2).

Paul goes on to list various gifts that can occur in the body.  We are to use those gifts.  There are four places in the New Testament that gifts are listed.  None of them are exactly alike.  I believe that is to show that there are many, many gifts and all are not listed in Scriputre.  Here is where they are listed (notice they are either chapters 4 or 12): Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; and Rom. 12:6-8.

Verses 9-13 exhort believers to various moral qualities, live, hating evil, devotion, deference, diligence, serving, hoping, persevering, praying, giving and hospitality.

I love verse 11 in the RSV, “be aglow with the Spirit.”  It is literally to “be on fire” with the Spirit.  I’m guessing if we were “on fire” for the Lord through the Spirit, we would have all the characteristics in verses 9-13.

Verses 14 – 21 prohibit revenge.  It belongs to the Lord (v. 19).  We are always to “overcome evil with good” (v. 21).

 


Psalm 22:19-31   Why Have You Forsaken Me, Part 2?   A Lament Psalm Of David


Proverbs 20:8-10   Cheatin’ Shows, Always Goes

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A good king disperses evil (v. 8).  But what if a king is not good?  How can a leader be good if he or she is not responsible protecting unborn babies?  Who will you vote for?

One of the most important verses about sin in Scripture is Jeremiah 17:9.  “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”  The way we know we are sinning is if we know the Bible.  Most people think whatever they think is right.  That is, they think they are right, regardless what God thinks.  That is why half of the country is voting one way or the other.  Only half elects candidates with biblical principles.  Our country is in a precarious situation.

The way to measure products is by comparing them to a standard.  The only way to know what is right morally is by knowing God’s Word.  Cheats use differing standards to make more money.  People cheat others to get what they want.  They violate the Ten Commandments so they can get what they want.  Look out for political candidates who are disregarding the Ten Commandments and breaking God’s rules.

God hates that.  He knows everyone will be cheated.

 

Choose Life: Scripture:  Romans 12:2   NASB    “Feeling Vs. Thinking”

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”    Romans 12:2

 

What is the most important verse in the Bible about living the Christian life?  This may be it.

What is so important about it?  It says that living the Christian life begins with your noggin’.  It begins with what you think!

Many Christians center their Christian lives on their emotions.  Everything is about what they feel.  What they “sense” is the most important thing about living their Christian lives.  May I say, with all reverence, that if God wanted us to center our lives on our emotions, He would have maybe sent us a song.  But He gave us His Word.  And that includes the life of His Son, the Word.  Written down, we know that as the Bible.  The Bible is a revelation meaning that God is communicating to us things that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to know.  He “reveals” things to us in the Scripture.  If God gave it to us, shouldn’t we take pains to learn it?  Better yet, shouldn’t we apply it and work it out (cf. Phil. 2:12) in our lives?

Feelings are also important in our Christian lives.  Paul tells us to rejoice (cf. Phil. 4:4; also see Neh. 8:10).  We need to learn discernment regarding our thoughts and feelings.  Are they coming from God, from the world, or even from a spiritual source (see blogs Spiritual Sensitivity and Sensitivity To The Holy Spirit)?

The world floods into our lives like a tsunami.  Paul tells us the antidote for that is to have our minds “renewed.”  The best way to do that is to get your head into the Word.

The world or the Word?  The choice is yours.  Obviously, it’s best to choose the Word!

 

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

Fun Application: 

It takes guts to choose the Word over the world.  My mother used to quote an expression, “Everyone is out of step except my son, John.”  She said John but I think she really meant Jerry.  I don’t think it was meant necessarily as a compliment.  But if you are going to really learn the Word and follow Christ, you will seem out of step to the world (cf. Matt. 16:26; also see Matt. 5:11-12).

On the other hand, it is the greatest adventure you could have in life . . .  if you have the guts (see blog No One Gets ‘Hit’ These Days!).

Do you have the guts to have your mind renewed?  If so, here are some things you can do.

1)  Read through the Bible.  Use good resources to help you understand some of the more difficult things you are reading.  One of the main rules in understanding the Bible is “the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.”  For everything else, you can use resources like J. Vernon McGee’s or Warren Wiersbe’s commentaries.  You could also use (dare I say it?) this blog and its search engine.

2)  Listen to good sermons.  Good luck on that but J. Vernon McGee’s Sunday sermons are available in a podcast through iTunes.

3)  Attend a good Bible-believing church.   These are also disappearing.

Remember, when you stand before God for the judgment of Christians (cf. blog Bema Me Up, Scotty!), you can’t plead that your pastor told you something or that you couldn’t find a decent church.  You will stand alone at that judgment.  You don’t need to fear it since it is only for the bestowal of rewards but you don’t want to go away empty-handed either!

 

 

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:   Chest Here

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