Monday, July 24, 2017

July 24: 2 Chronicles 11 – 13; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 19:27-29; Romans 8:22-39



Overview

            2 Chronicles: Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem and assembled Judah and Benjamin to fight Israel to reunite the country. But the prophet Shemaiah told them not to go because the Lord said not to do it. They listen to the Lord and didn’t fight. He then buildt cities to defend Israel. They were fortresses with stores of weapons, food, oil, and wine.
            Many priests and Levites in Israel came to him because Jeroboam removed them from office in Israel. He appointed his own priests to serve the gods he had made. The ones that had hearts to serve the Lord came and that strengthen Judah. For three years they followed the ways of David and Solomon.
            Rehoboam had several wives and had many kids. His sons were his officers throughout Judah. But when he became strong, he abandoned the Law. In his 5th year, Shishak king of Egypt took away the treasures of the king. The Lord told Rehoboam by Shemaiah that it was because they abandoned the Lord. They repented and God saw it and said he would not see his wrath but they would serve Shishak to see what it was like to serve other kings.
            Things got better in Judah and Rehoboam grew in strength. He was 41 years old when he started and reigned 17 years. He died and his son Abijah took over.
            Abijah and Jeroboam fought. Abijah was outnumbered 400,000 to 800,000. Abijah told Jeroboam that he would fail because the he had taken away the priests and worshiped idols but Judah was still following the Lord. Jeroboam ambushed Abijah but the priest blew trumpets and God defeated Jeroboam. 500,000 from Israel died in the battle. Jeroboam did not regain power during the life of Abijah. The Lord killed Jeroboam and Abijah grew in power.
            Psalm: : David tells of his victory over his enemies because of God’s equipping and God’s work in them (Ps 18:37-42). He tells of how God put him as head over many nations (Ps 18:43-45). David then praises God for these things (Ps 18:46-50).
            Proverbs: Stop listening to instruction and you will never learn. A perjurer makes a mockery of justice and wicked people eat up sin. Scoffers will be punished and fools will be beaten.
            Romans: Creation is in pain and so are we. When we have the Spirit in us, we groan against sin while we wait for the redemption of our bodies and see the fulfilment of our adoption as sons of God. This is our hope in being saved. We haven’t seen it yet but we wait patiently.
            The Spirit helps us in our weakness because we often don’t know how to pray. The Spirit intercedes for us with groaning that words can’t express. He knows our hearts and minds and intercedes for us by praying according to God’s will. So, we know that whatever is going on in our lives, it is God working for our good, which is to conform us to the image of Jesus because that is what his plan for us has been from the beginning. Because he planned it ahead of time, he has called, justified, and will glorify us.
            Nothing can come between us and God’s love. God didn’t spare Jesus so we could be saved. If he didn’t spare Jesus, the one he raised, then who is left to condemn us. Jesus is also interceding for us at the right hand of God. Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. Even though we may feel like we are being killed all day long, we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loves us. Again, nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “Nevertheless, they [Judah] shall be servants to him [Shishak king of Egypt], that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries."
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            Psalm: “Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever” (Ps 18:50).
            Proverbs: “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Prov 19:27).
            Romans: “ For in this hope we were saved” (Rom 8:24).

Insight

            2 Chronicles: The Levites that had a heart for God left Israel and their property to serve the Lord in Jerusalem. When people who serve the Lord find themselves kicked out of their jobs because of their faith, they often have to flee to other places. This was true in the early church and it still happens today. There has been an 80% drop in Christians in Iraq in the past ten years.[1] They’ve been forced to give up much just to survive.
            The priests went to Judah and their presence strengthened Rehoboam’s reign. However even with this godly influence, his pride led him away from serving the Lord. When Shishak came, Rehoboam repented but he still had to suffer the consequences of his sin. The Lord told them that they would have to serve Shishak so they would know the difference between serving the Lord and serving the ungodly kings of the nations around them.
            I wonder if God is still doing the same thing today. When we rebel against him, either on a personal, church, or national level, he allows what appears to be bad things happen so that we will know the difference between serving the Lord and serving the world. Rehoboam didn’t regain power immediately. Neither should we expect all the messes we’ve made to get cleaned up immediately. We need to hold on for the long-term and be steadfast in the Lord after we’ve repented.
            Psalm: As I’ve mentioned before, salvation in the Old Testament is often associated with long life and prosperity. This is the concept that David extols as he tells about how the Lord has saved him from his enemies. The concept also included the continuation of a person’s offspring and David tells of this as he ends the Psalm. When we look back at this and read verse 50, we immediately think of Jesus when David mentions God’s forever steadfast love to his offspring. We have a broader picture of God’s revelation than did David, but it was by the Holy Spirit that David included little tidbits of messianic prophecy in the Psalms. As time went by, the learned men of Scripture pieced it together to know that there would be a Messiah, an anointed one, who would come from David’s line. We know it to be Jesus but many Jews today are still looking for the Messiah. Many others are more like Rehoboam when he turned away from the Lord. I’m looking forward to the day when Jesus comes back and fulfills these prophecies that have seeming laid dormant for thousands of years. Then we, along with the Jews who embrace Jesus as Messiah will see it all come together.
            Proverbs: When it comes to the instruction we receive from the Word of God, we should never stop studying, listening, and applying it to our lives. If we stop, we will be the worse for it. When we go without a daily dose of God’s instruction, we tend to slip away even more and more. When we are no longer in the Word, we will find ourselves living like the world.
            Romans: There is just too much good theology in this reading to be able to say enough. One thing that stood out is that our hope is in being freed from our earthly bodies and see the fulfillment of our salvation. We are saved now, but the full extent of what that means is yet to come. There will be that day in the future when all creation will be restored. When that happens, we will become the people God has intended us to be from before creation. We will not have a sin nature that causes us to sin. We will be in perfect bodies that will never have pain or limitations. We will be in perfect fellowship with God and each other. We won’t groan because of the sin in us or around us. If we aren’t looking forward to that, then we have a huge spiritual roadblock that we need to get over.
            While we wait for this redemption from our current physical state, we can count on several things. The first is that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are both interceding for us. The second is that we can count on God working out all these weird and sometimes horrible things in life for our good, which is to be more and more like Jesus. The third is that none of these things in life will ever be able to separate us from God’s love for us in Jesus.
            That should give us reason to trust Jesus all the more. We should never think that God is not in control or that he has anything other than our best in mind. When we are so convinced, then we can live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. We don’t need to grumble or complain, rather we can have a heavenly perspective that makes us spiritually conqueror our circumstances.

Application

             I want to have a heart for the Lord. I always want to be confident that God is for me and trust in his sovereignty and goodness. I’m looking forward to that redemption day when we’ll all be free from sin forever.


[1] Williams, Ph.D. Thomas D. "Genocide: Christian Population in Iraq Drops by 80% in Just Over a Decade." Breitbart. Breitbart News Network, 30 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 July 2017, http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/03/30/christian-population-in-iraq-drops-by-80-in-just-13-years/

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