Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 26: 2 Chronicles 17 – 18; Psalm 20; Proverbs 20:2-3; Romans 9:22-10:13


            2 Chronicles: Jehoshaphat took over after Asa died. He strengthened the cities in Judah and Ephraim that Asa had captured. The Lord established his kingdom because he followed the Lord and not Baals. He had riches and honor. He removed high places of Asherim from Judah.
            He sent his officials to teach in the cities of Judah. The fear of the Lord fell on the kingdoms around Judah and there was no war. Philistines and Arabians brought him gifts of rams and goats. He had a large army of 980,000 men.
            Jehoshaphat made a marriage alliance with king Ahab of Israel. He went to visit Ahab in Samaria. While there, Ahab asked him to go to war with him against Ramoth-giliad. He said he would but he also asked Ahab to inquire of the Lord. 400 of Israel’s prophet said to go. He asked if there was any prophet of the Lord and Ahab sent for Micaiah, whom Ahab hated because he prophesied bad things against Ahab.
            Micaiah was asked to agree with the other prophets so he did though he said he could only speak what God wanted. Ahab knew he wasn’t telling the truth so Micaiah told about seeing God on his throne and asking the host of heaven who would lure Ahab to his death at Ramoth-giliad. One spirit said he would put lies in Ahab’s prophets and God gave the spirit permission.
            Ahab put Micaiah in prison until he returned. Micaiah said if Ahab returned in peace then the Lord hadn’t spoken through him.
            Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to war together, Ahab in disguise and Jehoshaphat with his royal robes. The king of Syria gave orders to only fight Ahab. They thought Jehoshaphat was Ahab and chased him until they realized he wasn’t Ahab. Ahab was shot with an arrow at random and died at sunset.
            Psalm: The first five verses are blessing prayers or benedictions. They all start with, “May.” It is an oblique prayer in which David asks blessings by speaking directly to others but not talking directly to God, rather he references God as the one who is to make it happen. He then assures the audience God will make it happen (Ps 20:6) because we, including himself, trust in the Lord (Ps 20:7). He then asks God directly to save himself and finishes with another benediction (Ps 20:9).
            Proverbs: A sovereign king strikes terror into anyone who angers him because the king will most likely kill him. It is honorable to avoid strife. Fools can’t seem to avoid arguments.
            Romans: God has the right to destroy with his anger and power those he has made for destruction though he has been patient with them. This makes the riches of his mercy more evident to those of us, Jews and Gentiles, who were selected for glory. Paul quotes Hoshea 1:10 and 2:23 to show that Gentiles are include. He quotes Isaiah 1:9 and 10:22-23 to show that only remnant of Jews will be included. Gentiles were not trying to follow the Law but were made righteous by faith. Israel was trying to be righteous by works of the Law and not by faith and that was their stumbling block according to Isaiah 8:14, 28:16, 49:23, and Joel 2:26-27.
            Paul wants Israel to be saved and they have a zeal for God but incorrectly. They want to establish their own righteousness instead of submitting to righteousness through Jesus. Jesus has ended the need to obey the Law for righteousness for those who believe.
            Moses says the person who wants righteousness from the Law must obey it all. But righteousness by faith says we don’t have to have another Messiah to come down and give the Law then die and be raised again (Adam Clarke's Commentary Romans 10:6). No, we already have the truth that has been proclaimed about Jesus. If we confess Jesus and believe he’s been raised we will be saved. We believe and that justifies us and it is expressed in our confession that his is our Lord. Everyone who believes will not be ashamed, whether Jew or Gentile. His riches are available to everyone who calls on him granting them salvation.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat” (2 Chron 17:10).          
            Psalm: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Ps 20:7).
            Proverbs: “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling” (Prov 20:3).
            Romans: “They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness” (Rom 10:2-3).


            2 Chronicles: Jehoshaphat is one of the strangest kings of Judah. His introduction in 2 Chronicles 17 explains why he was a great king and the first verse of chapter 18 explains why he was so strange. He made an alliance with one of the worst kings of Israel by marriage. Here he was, the king who sent his officials out to all the land to teach the people from God’s Word. The result was amazing. Not only did the people learn to follow the Lord, but the fear of the Lord came upon other nations. Jehoshaphat didn’t have war and even the nations even brought him gifts. And then what does he do? He becomes friends with the horrid Ahab even marrying into the family. He agrees to go to war with him even after a prophet of the Lord warns him Ahab will die there. He lets Ahab talk him into going into battle with his robes so the enemy will try to kill him.
            When we are walking with the Lord, it is evident to others. Times have changed since the days of Jehoshaphat because walking with the Lord often brings hostility rather than peace. Jesus said he came to bring a sword rather than peace (Matt 10:34). Until the time of Christ, the Lord promised prosperity and peace to the nation that followed him. When Jesus came, he brought a new covenant with new promises. People don’t like to hear this because they want the promises of peace and prosperity that was given to Israel as a nation. They see the church as the new Israel and expect the promises to Israel to extend to the church. They ignore the clear teaching of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament that tells us that followers of Christ must be ready to suffer persecution.
            Psalm: Regardless of whether or not the Lord brings about the blessings David asks for in this Psalm, the bottom line of it all must be our trust in the Lord. If we are trusting in our own abilities, help from others, or the government, we will not be blessed. It may appear that we are blessed because we are not persecuted for our faith. That is a false blessing. Wealth and power that many have in this world is fleeting and will not last forever. They will collapse and fall but we will be standing with our Lord in heaven forever.
            Proverbs: Sometimes it is very difficult to avoid strife. To do so, we may have to give up our rights and put the other person’s interests ahead of our own. In this world, that person may appear to be weak, but in God’s economy, he sees that person as honorable. The ones who take assertiveness training and strive to always take control so that they can become more effective are not always going to use those skill in the way that is best for everyone. When they do, arguments ensue and the fools are soon evident.
            Romans: “They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness” (Rom 10:2-3). This is the problem with all religions. Many people, whether in a Christian cult or other religion such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or any other ism are all zealous for God or gods. They want to do what they believe their god requires of them to become righteous enough to be saved. They don’t realize that righteousness can’t be gained by some kind of merit of their own. The only way to be saved is by faith in Jesus Christ. There isn’t going to be any other Savior so we shouldn’t be looking to heaven for one to come down. We shouldn’t look for some other person or religion to pay for our sins by being raised from the dead.
            Saving faith has a minimum of two components. The first is to believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Of course, that means you must also believe he died. Why did he die? To take our sin and their punishment on himself. When we believe in our heart, it is more than simply knowing the facts about his death, burial, and resurrection. It is accepting those fact as the truth that apply personally to each of us.
            The second thing we must do is confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. When we say he is Lord, that implies we will obey him. If we obey him, then we must agree with him about our sins and repent from them. If we don’t repent, we are not confessing him as our Lord. A lord is sovereign and must be obeyed. The Lord is sovereign over all things and we must obey him even more than we would a king (lord).


             I’m going to continue to trust in the Lord Jesus for my salvation. I know it isn’t about my merit. However, that means I need to obey him and one way is avoid strife. It means being a witness to others by word and deed.

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