Thursday, August 3, 2017

August 3: 2 Chronicles 33:14 – 34; Psalm 26; Proverbs 20:18-19; Romans 16:8-27



Overview

            2 Chronicles: After Manasseh repented and returned to Jerusalem, he made some construction changes to Jerusalem and strengthened other cities and the army. He removed all the idols and altars he had made. Yet, people still sacrificed at the high places.
            After Manasseh died, Amon, his son took over when he was 22 years old. He reigned two years. He did evil and worshiped the idols his father had worshiped. He didn’t repent and continued to pour on guilt. His servants killed him and the people of the land killed the conspirators.
            Josiah took over at eight years old and reigned 31 years. He did right. When he was 16 he began to seek the Lord. When he was 20 he began purging the idols from Judah, Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, Naphtali, and throughout all Israel.
            When he was 26, he had the temple restored. Hilkiah the high priest collected money from the remnant of Israel and from all Judah and Benjamin. Hilkiah found the Book of the Law. He gave it to Shaphan the secretary who gave it to the king. When Josiah heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes because of the wrath the Lord would pour out on them according to the Law.
            He sent men to Huldah the prophetess. She told them that the disaster would happen because they had forsaken the Lord. But Josiah would not see it because he had humbled himself. Josiah gathered the people at the temple and had the Law read. He made a covenant to follow the Lord and obey the Law. He made all that were present agree to it. As long as he lived, the people followed the Lord.
            Psalm: David asks God to vindicate him and test his heart and mind. He recounts his own goodness and innocence. He speaks of his love for God’s tabernacle. So he asks not to be wiped out with sinners because he walks in integrity. Yet he asks to be redeemed. He will bless the Lord in the great assembly.
            Proverbs: Don’t go into battles without first getting good counsel. People who yammer on and on tend to tell secrets that lead to gossip or slander. Keep your distance from them.
            Romans: Paul continues to list the people in Rome that he wants to greet. He then appeals to the Romans to look out for anyone causing divisions or opposing the doctrines they were taught. They don’t serve Christ but themselves. They deceive the naïve. He lets them know that he isn’t talking about them but still wants them to be wise about good and innocent about evil.
            God will soon crush Satan under their feet.
            Other’s with Paul send their greetings.
            Paul praises God who keeps us strong by the gospel and preaching of Jesus. This was in accordance with the ancient mystery which is now revealed in prophetic writings so that all nations should come to faith and obey God who is wise and glorified through Jesus Christ.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images” (2 Chron 34:3).      
            Psalm: “My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord” (Ps 26:12).
            Proverbs: “Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war” (Prov 20:18).
            Romans: “The revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God” (Rom 16:25-26 NIV).

Insight

            2 Chronicles: When Josiah was 16 years old, he began to seek the Lord. Four years later, he purged all the idols from both Judah and Israel. The Bible says he was still a boy when he started. When I read these accounts, I sometimes forget how young some of these kings were and how much responsibility they had. I also wonder what was going on in the first eight years of his reign. I also think of where I was when I was 16 and then 20. I certainly wasn’t seeking the Lord.
            The lesson is that even a young person can have a significant spiritual impact on other people. It is then very important to encourage children to seek the Lord while they are young. We shouldn’t be doing what many irreligious people do by sheltering their children from Christianity so they can make up their own minds when they are adults. Dr. Lawrence Krauss is one who says that teaching children creationism is child abuse.[1] People like Krauss understand that if you teach children the truth about the Bible and that includes creationism, then they are very likely to become Christians and that in their minds is unacceptable. This attitude is only the tip of the iceberg. They believe any religious instruction is child abuse. They also use terms like forcing it upon children. They hint that governments should not allow it for these reasons. Creation Ministries International’s response to Krauss provides a logical Christian response.[2]
            Where would Judah have been in the days of Josiah if the Book of the Law had been restricted from him. You can see that it was only because he sought the Lord that he and the people were spared from disaster that was to come upon the following kings. Atheists need to look at the big picture and see that preventing children from coming to Christ is the ultimate abuse because they will end up in hell for eternity if they don’t become Christians.
            Psalm: When I see references to the great assembly, I can’t help but think of heaven. When we stand before the Lord in joyous assembly of the saints, we will all be on level ground. Each of us is saved not because of our merit but because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Revelation depicts us standing before the throne, a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language crying out that salvation belongs to God and the Lamb (Rev 7:9-10). Israel was a picture of this future event as they assembled for their festivals to give praise to God and worship him. Just think, we will be able to do that forever, and we can even do that today. We don’t have to wait for heaven. We can do it on Sundays or other days of congregational worship. It is all because of Jesus.
            Proverbs: We should all seek good counsel for difficult decisions. This is especially important in facing difficult situations with others. The Proverb is specific to battles and sometimes dealing with difficult people can seem like a battle. The only problem is making sure your counselors are godly. I’ve known people who advise according to what the person wants to hear. (Ahab had prophets like that and it ended in his death.) I thought one person I knew was wise until I really listened to him. He simply rephrased what I was saying to make it sound like good advice. I could have asked him about doing something terribly sinful and he would have made it sound like a good idea. Be careful.
            Romans: When I read various references to the mystery of the gospel, I think of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The witch represents Satan and Aslan represents Jesus. The witch quotes an ancient law that gives her the right to kill Edmund for betraying his siblings. Aslan, however, calls his right to substitute his life for Edmund. The witch kills Aslan but he is revived in the morning and explains that she didn’t know of the deeper magic that came before the dawn of time.
            The doxology of Romans 16:25:27 is expressed in C. S. Lewis’ book. A few verses earlier, Paul assured the Romans that God would crush Satan under their feet. After Aslan was brought back to life, he led the battle that crushed the witch and set free her captives. What a great picture of our salvation!
            Satan could not have known that killing Jesus was part of God’s plan to save mankind. Had he known, he would not have orchestrated it. He would not have entered Judas to betray Jesus. But, the gospel was kept as a mystery even though it was hidden in plain sight in Scriptures. Jesus revealed it to the two men on the road to Emmaus. Paul learned of it by direct revelation from the Lord (Eph 3:3) and then was able to teach other about it. He said that it is revealed to God’s people (Col 1:26).
            What’s great is not just that we have been saved, but we can tell others. Each time we tell others about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus leading to a salvation, we are seeing God crunch Satan.
            Don’t forget, knowing the mystery must lead to believing and obedience. It isn’t a feel-good gospel that others sell (Rom 16:17-18). Watch out for them.

Application

            I want to be accurate about the Bible and what it teaches. It will lead youngsters to Christ as well as everyone else. I need to remember that there are militant people who want to stop Christianity and their “gospel” needs to refuted.


[1] Michael Stone, "Lawrence Krauss: Teaching Children Creationism Is Child Abuse," Progressive Secular Humanist, July 02, 2015, , accessed August 03, 2017, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2015/07/lawrence-krauss-teaching-children-creationism-is-child-abuse/.
[2] "CMI: Teaching creationism is child abuse? (Part 1)," CMI Mobile, , accessed August 03, 2017, http://creation.com/creation-videos?fileID=sSFGGqX8zvU&utm_media=email&utm_content=us.

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