Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 25: 2 Kings 8 – 9:13; Psalm 143; Proverbs 17:26; Acts 16:16-40



Overview

            2 Kings: In Israel: Elisha told the Shunammite woman to leave Israel because of a famine. She went to live in Philistia 7 years. When she came back to ask the king to restore her property, Gehazi was telling the king of Israel about Elisha raising the woman’s son. The king then restored all her property to her.
            Ben-hadad, king of Syria became ill and sent his servant, Hazael to ask Elisha if he would get well. Hazael met Elisha with 40 camels loaded with gifts. Elisha told him that he would recover, but he would die. He told Hazael would slaughter Israelites and become king of Syria. Hazael went back and told Ben-hadad he would recover but killed him the next day.
            In Judah: Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began to reign and lasted 8 years. He did evil like the kings of Israel because he married Ahab’s daughter. The Lord let him live because of David. Edom rebelled against Judah along with Libnah. Jehoram died and Ahaziah took over.
            Ahaziah reigned one year. He did evil the same as Ahab because he was Ahab’s son-in-law. He went with Ahab’s son Joram to fight against Hazael. Joram was wounded and was healing in Jezreel so Ahaziah went to see him.
            Elisha called one of the prophets and told him to anoint Jehu king of Israel. He was to anoint him then flee. The young man found Jehu, one of Israel’s army commander with other commanders in council. He took Jehu aside anointed him with oil and said that God had anointed him king. Jehu was told to wipe out Ahab’s line just like Jeroboam and Baasha’s lines. When the other commanders were told, they backed Jehu and announced that Jehu was now king.
            Psalm: David is still in trouble. He asks God to grant him mercy. He wants the Lord’s faithfulness, not judgment because no one is righteous before God.
            His enemy is making it really hard on him so his spirit is weak and he is appalled. He remembers the past. He meditates on all the Lord’s works. He reaches out to the Lord and his soul thirsts for the Lord.
            He wants to be answered quickly before he dies. He wants to know the Lord’s steadfast love in the morning because he trusts the Lord. He lifts his soul to the Lord in order to know the way to go. He wants deliverance and to know the Lord’s will and guidance.
            He asks for deliverance for the sake of the name of the Lord. He wants God’s righteousness to rescue his soul. He wants his enemies destroyed, those who would destroy his soul.
            Proverbs: It is an injustice to punish a godly person.
            Acts: A slave girl with a demon brought good pay for her owners because the demon could predict future events. She kept following Paul and his companions saying that they were servants of the Most High God and providing the way of salvation. Paul finally had enough of her and cast the demon out. Her owners then dragged Paul and Silas to court saying all kinds of evil against them. They were beaten with rods and thrown into prison.
            At midnight, an earthquake opened the doors and freed all the prisoners while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns. The jailer was about to kill himself when Paul stopped him. The jailer wanted to know how to be saved and they replied to believe on the Lord Jesus. The also spoke the word of God to his whole household. The jailer and his household believed and were baptized then took care of Paul and Silas.
            The next day the magistrates wanted to let Paul and Silas go quietly. But Paul told them they had unlawfully beat two Roman citizens. The magistrates then came, apologized, and asked them to leave the city. Paul and Silas took their time leaving. They visited Lydia and the other believers to encourage them before they left.

What Stood Out

            2 Kings: “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 8:18).
            Psalm: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you” (Ps 143:8 NIV).
            Proverbs: “To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness” (Prov 17:26).
            Acts: “She followed Paul and us, crying out, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation’” (Acts 16:17).

Insight

            2 Kings: This was not a time in the history of Israel or Judah where you would want to be king. The perks were simply not worth a short life. The bottom reason for it all was that they did evil in God’s sight. As a result, they usually didn’t live long. Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram (also spelled Joram) and his son were evil and the Bible says that the reason was their alliance to Ahab by marriage. Apparently, their wives had a lot of influence over their spiritual state. It isn’t surprising for us because we have all this history to teach us. We also have Paul’s warning not to marry unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14). Yet, we find many young people doing exactly that. Raised in the church, professing Christians, and still think marrying an unbeliever is what God wants them to do. Sometimes, the unbeliever does become a Christian and things work out okay. However, more often than not, the Christian is dragged away and spends many years away from the Lord. Their kids are affected and are not introduced to Jesus. Tell your kids or grandkids to pay attention to the Word. Don’t get involved emotionally with unbelievers. It only leads to grief.
            Psalm: When troubles assail us, there is one thing that we should desire. That is to be renewed every morning by remembering the Lord’s unfailing love. That love is always available to us because we trust in God. It isn’t a promise that an unbeliever can claim. If we want to live a life that is righteous, then we must lift up our souls to the Lord. That is total surrender. David talks of his soul several times in this Psalm. Our soul is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries (online) as “The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being … regarded as immortal”. It isn’t often that a secular definition it accurate but this is exactly what we are looking at in this Psalm. We should be surrendering our being or soul to God. This means that it is an eternal surrender and not just a temporal or temporary surrender until we get what we want.
            Proverbs: In today’s world of political correctness, this proverb is being abused every day all around the world. People who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are constantly trying to force their ungodly attitudes and behaviors on Christians. This include taking them to court and fining them for obeying their conscience. We need to recognize the injustice but we also should expect this from those who are opposed the way of Jesus.
            Acts: What’s the problem with a demon possessed person telling the truth about Paul and his companions? It would seem to make sense that people who really wanted to be saved would hear and come to Paul. I’ve seen instances where unbelievers have made comments that helped people come to Christ. However, this is different. Everyone knew this girl was demon possessed and would either discount what she said or they may even think that this salvation was about was a way of appeasing other demons or gods. Even if they did believe that she was accurate, our God doesn’t need the enemy to be a witness for him. I’m more surprised that Paul didn’t act sooner.
            However, the aftermath may have been the reason Paul didn’t act sooner. While God worked some good out of it by saving the jailer and his household, Paul and his companions had to leave Philippi.
            We learn that doing right sometimes ends us up in bad places. However, when we keep our eyes on Jesus, he will work it all for good. In this case, the obvious good was the jailer’s salvation that wasn’t dependent on a demon’s witness. The unknown good was where Paul and his companions were to go and do next.

Application

             I need to be able to look beyond the current problem to see that God will work out a greater good than I can imagine. I shouldn’t think God has lost control when injustice occurs because righteous people are fined or imprisoned wrongfully. It is working exactly the way he wants. I need to pray and sing praise the Lord in all circumstances.

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