Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 27: 2 Chronicles 19 – 20; Psalm 21; Proverbs 20:4-6; Romans 10:14-11:12



Overview

            2 Chronicles: Jehu the prophet rebuked Jehoshaphat for helping the wicked Ahab saying God’s wrath was against him. But the good he had done by removing the Asherahs was recognized along with Jehoshaphat seeking God. Jehoshaphat went among the people of Judah and Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord. He appointed judges and warned them that they judged for the Lord, so they needed to be impartial and not take bribes. He also appointed Levites to judge in Jerusalem and warned them that doing wrong would bring wrath on them.
            Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites, a great multitude, came to battle Jehoshaphat. He was afraid so he sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast in Judah. Judah assembled to seek the Lord. Jehoshaphat prayed in the assembly recounting God’s attributes, deeds, and promises. He admitted his powerlessness against the horde.
            The Lord replied through Jahaziel not to be afraid. He told them the enemy would approach from Ziz. They would not need to fight but watch the salvation of the Lord. The people worshiped the Lord, got up early and went to the wilderness of Tekoa. Jehoshaphat told them to believe in the Lord and they would succeed. He put singers ahead of the army to give thanks for the Lord’s steadfast love. The Lord ambushed the enemy when they began to sing. When they reached the enemy, they were all dead because they fought each other. Jehoshaphat and his army then took all the loot back to Jerusalem. Fear of them came over all the other nations around them and Jehoshaphat had peace.
            He started to reign when he was 35 and reigned for 25 years. He did right in the eyes of the Lord but the high places were not taken away because the people hadn’t set their hearts on the Lord.
            Jehoshaphat joined Ahaziah king of Israel who was wicked. They built trading ships. The Lord told him that he would destroy the ships because of his alliance with Ahaziah. They were all wrecked before they set sail.
            Psalm: David praises the Lord for all the good that he has done for him. He has been showered with his heart’s desire, crown of gold, long life, salvation, blessed forever. It is because he trusts in the Lord (Ps 21:1-7). David then tells how God will destroy God’s enemies. They will be swallowed in his wrath and burned up. They plan evil against God but God will put them to flight (Ps 21:8-12). David praises God’s strength and power (Ps 21:13).
            Proverbs: If you are like a lazy person and don’t work in your fields you won’t get a harvest. What we really desire in our hearts isn’t always evident but a wise counselor can help reveal it. Many proclaim how steadfast they are in loving, but a truly faithful person is hard to find.
            Romans: The only way people are going to be able to call on Jesus is for someone to tell them about him (not everyone will believe), though all have heard because Psalm 19:4 says their voice has gone out to the whole world. Moses said that God will make Israel jealous by a foolish nation (Deut 32:21). Isaiah said that people who didn’t look for God will find him (Isa 65:1), all the while God has held his hand out to Israel while they were disobedient (Isa 65:2).
            God has not rejected Israel because Paul is an Israelite. Elijah complained that he was the only one who still obeyed but the Lord told him he kept 7,000 for himself. And at the present time, God still has a remnant of Israel chosen by grace. Since it is grace then it can’t be by works. The elect of Israel has received grace and are saved but the rest are hardened as indicated in several Old Testament passages. David indicated that they stumbled and are darkened so they can’t see (Ps 69:22-23).
            Israel’s stumbling has a purpose and that it to bring Gentiles to faith. When Gentiles come to faith, that is to make Israel jealous. If Israel’s sin has brought the riches of grace to Gentiles, think about how much glory there will be when Israel turns to Jesus!

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “And said to the judges, ‘Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes’” (2 Chron 19:6-7).        
            Psalm: “For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved” (Ps 21:7).
            Proverbs: “The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Prov 20:5).
            Romans: “Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean” (Rom 11:12)!

Insight

            2 Chronicles: Jehoshaphat was wise in dealing with his own people. He did what he could to turn them back to the Lord. A huge part of that was making sure the judges of the land were honest. His advice to them is very applicable to us. They were told to judge honestly because they were doing it for the Lord. We should have that same attitude in everything we do. Whether we are working at what we may think are mundane jobs or raising our kids, grandkids, or foster kids. We need to do it all for the Lord. We are his workmanship to do what he has decide in the past that we should do (Eph 2:10). We should not consider any task beneath us because it is to be done for the Lord. Doing it for the Lord means we should do it to the best of our abilities and to be honest in it.
            The reason that they were to be honest judges is because there were to be like God who has no injustice in him. He doesn’t take bribes or show partiality. We need to do our task with the same attitude. We need to exhibit God’s attributes in our work because the Holy Spirit lives in us. Whether it is at home, on the job, or at leisure, we need to show his love, compassion, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
            Psalm: When we trust in the Lord, we can depend on his promises. David had some very specific promises that we can’t claim. He had a physical crown of gold but we have the promises of persecution like Jesus’ crown of thorns (Rom 8:17). We also have the promises of other crowns: the crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8); the crown of life (James 1:12; Rev 2:10); the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). These all have a context of staying firm through trials and tribulations. Just as David remained faithful and received his crown on earth, so we remain faithful and will receive our crowns in glory.
            Proverbs: We all have secrets in our hearts. Some are buried so deep that we don’t even know it ourselves. I’ve heard people respond to questions about their sinful behavior by saying they don’t’ know why they did it. I look back at my teen years and at that time, I couldn’t say why I did what I did. However, a wise counselor can help a person discover the sin that is rooted deep in their heart. The first thing to remember is that sinful behavior is rooted in a sinful heart. We still carry around in our flesh stuff that results in sin. Paul put it this way, “The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Gal 5:17). Those desires are the things that a good counselor can bring out so that we don’t have to say we don’t know why we did something sinful. My problem as a teenager was a sinful heart.
            Romans: I just saw a post yesterday on facebook by Bruce Mills, “After Christs [sic] death, the curtain was rent, Israel was rejected, the 12 tribes. The 12 apostles started the Christian church, spiritual Israel.”[1] Now this was in response to the original post supporting the pre-tribulation rapture. It is interesting that many people are turning to this theology believing the promises to Israel are no longer valid. They believe the church has replaced Israel. Yes, Israel has been sidelined for now. But that is so that the time of the Gentiles might bring billions of people to Jesus. If their sidelining is bringing this much glory to God, just think what it will mean when they all turn to Jesus? Paul certainly believes that something more is expected of Israel than individual Jews come to Jesus. When all Israel embraces Jesus as their Messiah, something big is going to happen. The promise to Israel in the Old Testament will be fulfilled and we’ll enter into the millennium kingdom of Jesus where Israel will be the dominate kingdom of all the earth. Jesus will be at the head and will be in Jerusalem as king over all. We will all be reigning with him because we will be all resurrected.
            What does that mean to us practically? It means that we need to look to Israel and do all we can to share the good news of Jesus with them. We don’t know when the nation will turn to Jesus but we do know that those who don’t accept Jesus as Messiah are lost. Just like anyone else, they need to come by grace to get saved, not by works. Our job is to spread the good news.

Application

             Part of spreading the good news is living godly lives. We can’t be good witnesses if we don’t reflect the attributes of God in our lives. We need to be honest, we need to persevere, we need to witness.

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