Friday, August 4, 2017

August 4: 2 Chronicles 35 – 36; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17



Overview

            2 Chronicles: In Josiah’s 18th year as king, he kept the Passover. He encouraged all the priests and Levites having them stand in the groupings designated by David and Solomon. He ordered them to consecrate themselves and prepare the Passover lamb according the word of Moses. Josiah contributed 30,000 lambs and goats, and 3,000 bulls for the Passover. Hilkiah and other chief officers contributed 2,600 and 300. Other chief Levites gave 5,000 and 500.
            They slaughtered and sprinkled he blood as prescribed by Moses. They roasted the lambs and boiled the holy offerings and took the meat to the people. They worked until night. Not since Samuel had anyone had a Passover like this one.
            Josiah went out to fight Neco king of Egypt. Neco told him he was not going to war against Josiah and the Lord had told him to hurry so he told Josiah to go home. But Josiah disguised himself and went into battle not listening to what the Lord spoke through Neco. Josiah was wounded and died in Jerusalem. They mourned for Josiah and Jeremiah wrote a lament for him.
            Josiah’s son Jehoahaz was made king when he was 23 years old. He reigned three months. The king of Egypt deposed him and made Eliakim, his brother king and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He was 25 years old and reigned 11 years. He did evil. Nebuchadnezzar took him captive to Babylon along with vessels from the temple.
            His son, Jehoiachin was 8 years old when he became king and reigned three months and ten days. He did evil and Nebuchadnezzar took him to Babylon and made Zedekiah, his brother, king.
            Zedekiah was 21 years old and reigned 11 years. He did evil and ignored Jeremiah who spoke for the Lord. He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. All his officer, priests, and the people were unfaithful worshiping abominations and polluting the temple. They scoffed at all of God’s messengers until there was no remedy for God’s wrath.
            God sent the king of the Chaldeans who’s men had no mercy and killed men, women, and chidlren. He took all the treasures of the temple to Babylon and burned the temple. He broke down Jerusalem’s wall and burned the palaces. Those who were not killed were taken captive to Babylon. This was to fulfill the words of Jeremiah so that the land would have Sabbath rests for 70 years.
            In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, the Lord stirred him up and fulfilled Jeremiah’s words to have the temple rebuilt and return people to the land.
            Psalm: David praises God for taking care of him when he is attacked by enemies. Because of his trust, he is not afraid of them, knowing God will take care of him so that he will be able to worship and praise God in his sanctuary. His one prayer is to dwell in the house of the Lord all his life. He is confident that God will answer that prayer. He believes he will be sheltered in the day of trouble and will offer sacrifices in God’s tent with great joy.
            Proverbs: Curse your mom or dad and you will be snuffed out. Getting your inheritance before it is usually given ends up wasted.
            1 Corinthians: Paul writes to the Corinthian church and first of all makes sure they understand he is writing with the authority of an apostle of Jesus Christ. He also lets them know that they are set apart in Jesus along with other Christians. He also lets them know he thanks God for the grace they’ve received and that they don’t lack in any spiritual gifts while they wait for Jesus to come back. Jesus will keep them until then and they will be blameless in that day. God is faithful and has called them into fellowship with Jesus.
            He then appeals to them in the name of Jesus not to have divisions since they will all have the same judgment. He’s heard of their quarreling because some claim to follow different teachers. He says that Christ isn’t divided and Paul wasn’t crucified and no one was baptized in the name of Paul. In fact, he only baptized a few. Christ didn’t send him to baptize but to preach the gospel and that not with eloquent words so that the cross would not be powerless.

What Stood Out

            2 Chronicles: “He did not listen to the words of Neco [king of Egypt] from the mouth of God” (2 Chron 35:22). 
            Psalm: “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock” (Ps 27:5).
            Proverbs: “An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end” (Prov 20:21).
            1 Corinthians: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor 1:13-14).

Insight

            2 Chronicles: Josiah is one of the best kings of Judah. He spiritually cleaned up Judah and several areas of Israel that had been left in ruin after their captivity. He restored the temple and had the greatest Passover celebrations since Samuel. So what happened when Neco, king of Egypt, decided to march past him to do battle against someone else? Why didn’t he listen to Neco who said the Lord had sent him to this other battle? Why was he so eager to fight Neco when Neco didn’t even care one hoot about him?
            One thing that may have caused him to not believe is that Neco was a pagan king. Josiah probably thought that God would not tell a pagan to do anything much less speak through him. It doesn’t seem likely; however, the Bible says that’s exactly what the Lord did. So, the only thing that would explain Josiah’s idiotic move was pride. Pride in all he had done and pride in God’s promise that he wouldn’t see the destruction of Judah.
            Pride blinded him to God’s word even though it was spoken by a pagan. Neco isn’t the only pagan who God used so this wasn’t something as odd as we or he should think. Pride because Neco was crossing his land. He knew he was doing wrong because he disguised himself to go into battle and it is the ultimate sign of pride when we do something wrong even when we know it is and we go through extra measures so we can do it. We can all become prideful and go against God’s will.
            Psalm: I’ve been seeing some posts on facebook lately about the rapture (and you say what does this have to do with David’s Psalm?). Some of the concepts of the rapture in these posts is that it will occur before the tribulation and Psalm 27:5 is a verse that could be interpreted as proof that it will occur before the tribulation. The posts usually talk about Noah being carried above the flood and David’s verse about being sheltered in the day of trouble (tribulation) and concealed in his tent (heaven) and lifted high (raptured) fit with this line of reasoning if you use these symbols.
            I don’t think these kinds of interpretations from the Old Testament are accurate. If we want to know if the rapture is pre or post tribulation, then we should study what Jesus said. There isn’t room or time to develop this here but Jesus said that immediately after the tribulation there would be something that sounds a lot like the rapture (Matt 24:29-31).
            What we can learn from David is to trust in the Lord for the difficulties of life. If we have to go through the tribulation, then his Psalms should give us confidence in our Savior.
            Proverbs: These two Proverbs remind me of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In a sense, the prodigal son cursed his father when he asked for his inheritance. He essentially said he wished his dad was dead so he could have what was due to him. Surprisingly, he got the money and he wasted it. In the process, his spiritual lamp was snuffed out. Fortunately, the parable carries on from where the proverbs leave off. We can see God’s compassion, grace, and forgiveness when he welcomes his son home. A lot of the proverbs are like that. They throw out a warning but don’t always tell the solution in terms of redemption. So, we need to keep in mind the rest of Scripture to find our salvation in Jesus.
            1 Corinthians: Paul asserts several important things in the opening of his letter to the Corinthians. The first is that he is an apostle of Jesus. Without this authority, what he has to say would be just good advice. But this letter contains the Word of God because it is written as an apostle of Jesus. If it were not so, it would not be part of the Bible. This is important for us as well. The second is that we are all set apart or sanctified as believers in Jesus Christ. One location of Christians doesn’t have a corner on being God’s people. The third is that we all have received grace and are gifted spiritually. Fourth, Jesus will keep us all in him and will present us guiltless at the judgment. Fifth, we have been called into the church, the fellowship of Jesus. We didn’t call ourselves.
            With those introductions, he then wants to know why they have divisions and are following different people. After all, it is only Jesus who died for sins. It doesn’t matter who baptized who because salvation come from the cross and not by powerful speakers who can talk you into being save. Sixth, we don’t follow people but Jesus.
            We all need to be reminded of these things. If we were paying attention to them, then we wouldn’t have so many denominations and factions in Christianity.

Application

            Pride can get in my way whether it is because I don’t want to listen to the Lord through others or because I want to follow one more than others. It can lead me to defend a doctrine that doesn’t need defending because it isn’t about the cross and salvation. Rather it is my prideful thinking I can interpret Scripture better than someone else.

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