Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 28: 2 Kings 13 – 14; Psalm 146; Proverbs 18:2-3; Acts 18:23-19:12



Overview

            2 Kings: In Israel: Jehoahaz, Jehu’s son, reigned for 17 years and did evil. So the Lord let Hazael and his son Ben-hadad continually fight and defeat Israel. Then Jehoahaz sought the Lord and God gave them a savior to escape the Syrians but the people continued to sin.
            After Jehoahaz, his son, Jehoash reigned for 16 years. He sinned and did evil.
            Elisha became ill and Joash (Jehoash) king of Israel came to him and wept. Elisha had him shoot an arrow eastward then strike the ground with his arrows. The eastward shot signified the Lord’s victory over Syria and striking the ground was the number of times he would strike down Syria. Elisha was angry with Joash because he only struck the ground three times.
            After Elisha died, he was buried. Another man was being buried but they threw him in Elisa’s grave when they saw a raiding band of Moabites approaching. The man revived when he touched Elisha’s bones.
            Jehoash (Joash) took from Ben-hadad the cities Hazael had taken from Jehoahaz when he struck them three times.
            In Judah: Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah began to reign. He reigned for 29 years. He did right in the eyes of the Lord but not as well as David. The people still sacrificed in the high places. He killed the servants who had murdered his father. He didn’t put to death their children. He killed 10,000 Edomites and then sent messengers to Jehoash of Israel to go to battle.
            Jehoash told him his victory of Edom made him proud and he shouldn’t look for any more victories. Amaziah wouldn’t listen so they fought and Israel defeated Judah. Amaziah was captured, Jehoash raided the temple, and took captives to Samaria.
            In Israel: Jehoash died and Jeroboam reigned in his place.
            In Judah: Amaziah lived 15 years after Jehoash died. There was conspiracy against Amaziah and they killed him in Lachish. They then made Azariah, his son, king at the age of 16.
            In Israel: Jeroboam reigned for 41 years. He did evil but the Lord saw Israel’s affliction and restored much under Jeroboam. When he died, his son, Zechariah, took over.
            Psalm: We are to praise the Lord from our souls as long as we live and are able. To do that we can’t trust rulers or any other people for salvation. They are mortal.
            We are blessed when the Lord helps us because he is the Creator, faithful, just, and takes care of the oppressed. He sets prisoners free, heals the blind, and lifts our heavy loads. He guards foreigners, widows, and the fatherless. He ruins the way of the wicked.
            The Lord reigns forever.
            Proverbs: Fools enjoy telling their opinion and not trying to understand anyone else’s point of view. Wickedness and corruption go hand-in-hand in the same way as dishonor and disgrace.
            Acts: Paul then left Antioch and went to Galatia and Phrygia strengthening the disciples. In the meantime, Apollos showed up in Ephesus. He was educated and spoke well but only knew about John’s baptism. Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and filled him in about the way of God. He went to Achaia and refuted Jews in public as he taught from the Scripture that Jesus was the Messiah. Paul and Apollos crossed paths in Corinth.
            Paul found some disciples inland from Ephesus who only had John’s baptism. Paul explained that John’s baptism of repentance pointed to Jesus. These 12 disciples were then baptized in the name of Jesus, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues.
            Paul then went to the synagogue for three months teaching about the kingdom of God. When the Jews became stubborn he taught the disciples in the hall of Tyrannus for two years. The whole area of Asia Jews and Greeks heard the word of the Lord.
            God worked through Paul so that people were healed when they touched things Paul had touched. Sick were healed and demons came out of people.

What Stood Out

            2 Kings: “You have indeed struck down Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home, for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?” (2 Kings 14:10).
            Psalm: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps 146:3).
            Proverbs: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Prov 18:2).
            Acts: “” ().

Insight

            2 Kings: With all the different kings of Israel and Judah overlapping each other, having alternate spellings for the same king, and even having the same names, it gets rather confusing. It is also surprising that the Lord put up with Israel as long as he did. It was only out of compassion and promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he allowed them to continue. The phrase describing Israel’s kings is, “He also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin, but he walked in them.”
            Judah vacillated between good and evil kings. The phrase describing most of the good ones is, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but the high places were not removed.” Some of the good kings did some remarkably stupid things. Jehoshaphat went into battle alongside Ahab. In today’s reading, Amaziah succumbed to pride. Because he wiped out an Edomite army, he felt he could take on Israel. His arrogance was quite expensive. Israel not only defeated him, but they marched on Jerusalem and took the gold and silver from the temple. They broke down part of the wall and took hostages back to Samaria.
            What catch phrase would you like to have written about you after you are gone? What prideful acts have cost you a lot or worse, cost others? Only by waking humbly with the Lord can we be remembered for good and avoid the pain of pride in our lives.
            Psalm: We often forget that the Lord is sovereign. He has made everything and he provides everything we have. We may think we have provided for ourselves, but our every breath comes from him. If he did not will us to keep breathing, we would die. If he did not keep on willing everything in this universe to exist, it would disappear.
            So why do we often think that a person is the answer to our problems. For a husband and wife, they often look to the other to meet all their perceived emotional, physical, or romantic needs. Every four years, we look to the Republican or Democratic party to solve all the socio-economic problems of our country. We will only be content in this world when we look to Jesus as our Savior. Then we’ll know that this world is temporary and our real future is secure in the Lord.
            Proverbs: As I look at these proverbs, I’m seeing how much more of a fool I am than I thought. While I may take pleasure in learning, I also have a tendency to want to make my opinion known. Sometimes that opinion is contrary to good understanding. I’m not the only one. Just look at the newspaper and you should be able to find an article with which you disagree. The evidence can be staggering but you still want to believe and tell others what you believe.
            Sometimes that’s good, like all the scientific evidence that a person can’t be resurrected from the dead. But we believe that Jesus is raised and that he died for all so we can live for him (2 Cor 5:14-15).
            Acts: In this reading, we have two different instances of people who only knew of John’s baptism. The first is Apollos who was an eloquent speaker and well versed in the Scriptures. Amazingly, he preached accurately about Jesus. How could he speak about Jesus and only know John’s Baptism? It is possible that he told about the coming Messiah but didn’t know that the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus. However, he was teachable and when better informed, he was able to show from Scripture that Jesus is the Messiah.
            The other instance is when Paul met 12 disciples. They were apparently John’s disciples but not Jesus’ disciples. It appears that they didn’t even know specifically about Jesus. When Paul let them know that John pointed to the Messiah coming after him, John was talking about Jesus. This may have been the same thing that happened with Apollos but we can’t be sure. Here were 12 men looking for someone to come after John but not knowing who it was. They didn’t know about the Holy Spirit coming either. They were people in an arrested state of development.
            However, when told about Jesus, they were then obedient in baptism. They didn’t immediately start speaking in tongues like others, but Paul had to lay his hands on them before the Holy Spirit was manifested with speaking tongues and prophesying. The last mention of people speaking in tongues after becoming Christians was the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house. This was several years later. It just goes to show that there are no two instances of the Holy Spirit coming on people where they are so similar that they can be called normative.
            The lesson here is to be teachable. It isn’t to formulate a doctrine and then stick with it to the exclusion of being corrected.

Application

             I need to be teachable and listen to others. I don’t want to succumb to pride and think that my opinion is always the best either. That’s just pride and I don’t want to be like Amaziah and suffer the consequences of pride.

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