Have you ever wanted to pray for someone but not known how? It’s easy for that to happen. Often we know someone is struggling but don’t know how. Other times people just pop into our brains and we feel the urge to pray for them. If this happens to you, pray 1 Corinthians 1:4-8 over them. It’s a pretty great prayer for anyone.
2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23:
- 1-19 – There had been significant periods of time, while under bad kings, that the Israelites did not observe Passover. This may seem like tedious information, but it’s showing that the Israelites were doing their best to be faithful here.
- 20-22 – Josiah was faithful for most of his life, but in the end, he tried to oppose the will of God and died trying.
- 9 – Jehoiachin is different than Jehoiakim. It’s easy to read quickly and miss that subtle transition.
- 15 – These “messengers” were the prophets. In the gospels, particularly in parables, there are often people who are trying to bring messages who are ignored or rejected. These characters represent the prophets as well.
- 22-23 – King Cyrus, a king who is not an Israelite, is called to return the exiles to their land and rebuild the temple.
1 Corinthians 1:1-17:
- This is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Note that letters to different churches tend to have different emphases. He is trying to teach the churches how to live and grow faithfully. Every church has its own hangups in that regard.
- 4-8 – This is a beautiful way to pray for someone you love and want to encourage.
- 10-17 – Paul encourages the Corinthians to stop focusing on divisive issues and to recognize that they are all called to and saved by Christ.
- 1 – Remember this when you have fear of any kind.
- 2-6 – David speaks with words of great confidence that God will protect him in any and every situation.
- God clearly meant the “honor your father and mother” law.
Today we finish up Romans and you’ll notice Paul ends by trying to connect believers together. In most of his letter conclusions he attempts to connect the churches with other believers he’s worked with. We should take a note here. It’s important, as believers, to be connected with other believers.
2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33:
- 1- Strangely, Josiah is not the youngest king to ever start his reign. Joash started ruling at age 7.
- 8-13 – Unfaithful kings tended to let the temple fall into disrepair. Both boy kings took the offerings of the people to put it to temple reparations.
- 27-28 – Even though the people had been evil, the king still had love for them and would have been pained to see them suffer.
- 8-16 – In Paul’s conclusion to the Romans, he is doing his best to connect the believers with others they might encounter.
- 17-19 – Satan does not like it when people are faithful and make faithful decisions. He tries to deceive and turn them with things and people who seem holy-ish.
- 2 – This is a pretty scary prayer to pray. This is inviting God to look into all the part of us we normally try to hide.
- Often the person who tells you great gossip will tell yours as well. Better not to associate with them at all.
For us, forgiveness often feels like a given. We have Jesus and our forgiveness is free and something we could never earn. But forgiveness should never feel simple or easy. In today’s 2 Chronicles reading we see God forgive Manasseh, who had led everyone away from him. This helps us see the weight of forgiveness as well as the outcome – Manasseh returning to God. Forgiveness is powerful and something that can bring people back to God.
2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13:
- 6-8 – “Be strong and courageous” is the same encouragement Moses gave Joshua as Joshua took over leadership of the Israelites.
- 9-15 – King Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, is trying to negate Hezekiah’s encouragement to be strong and courageous by attacking God’s ability to protect them.
- 24-26 – Hezekiah has a hiccup in faithfulness, but returns to the Lord quickly avoiding any damage to his people.
- 1-2 – This is not the same Manasseh that the tribe is named for.
- 10-13 – This is an incredible show of forgiveness. Manasseh had made even Judah, the one tribe who tended to remain faithful, turn against God. When in trouble, though, he turned to God for rescue and God answered.
- 23 – Though it was such a cultural hub and despite Paul’s great fondness for Rome, it is only recorded that he went there once.
- 3 – This is the same Priscilla and Aquila from the book of Acts.
- 20-21 – Based on past reading in the Old Testament, it seems the Lord would fulfill the psalmist’s request for protection because the psalmist was upright and relying on God.
- 17 – This is so true of sin in general. The rewards of our sin are often so glamorous and exciting, but only for a short time. Ultimately they are destructive and painful.
People joke that there’s no instruction manual for parenting or for general life. Seemingly, the toughest things we have to do get the least amount of instruction. That’s only partially true. God doesn’t just plop us down in life and tell us to figure it out. Like today’s psalm explains, everything we need to know for salvation and successfully navigating life is available us through Scripture and the Holy Spirit.
2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21:
- 1-9 – It’s comforting that even when we fail to do what we’re supposed to do, when we choose to return to God, he accepts us.
- 18-20 – God’s extreme kindness shows here as people come and eat Passover without cleansing themselves. This harkens to the way Jesus handled the law. He always rewarded faith and always showed love even if the law had to be bent a little.
- 26-27 – It had been a long time since Solomon. Hezekiah’s commitment to restoring Passover, even though imperfect, was pleasing to God.
- 9-10 – Like when it was time to build the tabernacle in Exodus, the faithful Israelites bring more than enough offering.
- 5-7 – Just as Christ accepted us in our weakness, we are to invite in those whose faith is not as strong as ours. These are the folks we should not make stumble but should bring into the fold.
- 17-22 – Paul takes pride in the work God has done through him to bring those who had never believed in Christ to salvation.
- 8-9 – God does not fling us out into the world to figure everything out on our own. He shows us the way to him. Also, the early Christians were known as “The Way”.
- 13 – Laziness doesn’t pay. We have to work to take care of ourselves.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good!” “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.” “I once was blind but now I see.” God gave us five incredible senses. Today’s Proverb reminds us that we don’t just have these senses because they’re neat. We have them because they are just some of the ways that we get to experience God. Think about that the next time you see a beautiful landscape or hear a baby coo.
2 Chronicles 29:1-36:
- 5-11 – King Hezekiah was faithful and brought the Levites back to faithfulness as well.
- 24 – Israel had strayed for a long time from faithfulness. The Levites were cleansing everything completely so it could return to use in the worship of the Lord.
- 25-30 – This seems like a pretty spectacular worship service.
- 1-4 – There are times when we are called to rebuke others for their sins and bring them back. At this point, Jesus had deemed all food clean so eating certain things was no longer sinful. It was just a matter of point of view.
- 5-6 – Often we get angry with people who don’t hold to the same morals as us. Often it is more about us only upholding certain morals because of pride instead of doing so because of faithfulness to God.
- 20-21 – This is reason to abstain from certain things for the sake of others. Even though you don’t have a problem with alcohol or graphic movies, etc. if you know someone else does, you abstain for their sake.
- 3-4 – These are beautiful verses of what we should strive for so we can enter the presence of the Lord with confidence.
- 7-10 – A cool exchange asking questions of who it is that is worthy of such respect. It is our God, the God of Jacob.
- The Lord gives us our senses – these are just some of the ways he’s given us to experience him.
There is a lot of political news these days that is polarizing. We can love it or hate it, but regardless of our feelings, today’s Romans passage lets us know that, as believers, we have an obligation to be faithful. Faithfulness is not always easy, but it is necessary.
2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27:
- 1 – Uzziah and Azariah are the same person. Sometimes kings would have a throne name as well as a personal name.
- 3-15 – This section chronicles the faithful days of Uzziah.
- 16-21 – Like the chronicler tends to do (i.e. Joash) he splits the account of the faithful days of a king from the unfaithful days of a king. This section chronicles Uzziah’s unfaithful days.
- 19 – Having leprosy meant that King Uzziah was unclean and would need to be separated from the rest of the Israelites.
- 23 – He was buried in a field owned by kings instead of in the burial tombs where the rest of the kings were buried.
- 2 – The chronicler here is commending Jotham for not entering the temple. That was the sin Uzziah committed. He entered the parts he was not allowed.
- 1-4 – Ahaz is basically the worst of the worst.
- 1-7 – This passage applies whether you agree with the authorities over us or not. Regardless, we are called to do the faithful thing.
- 11-14 – Darkness and light are often symbols for the things we hide versus what we do when we know people are around and watching. Once again, the analogy of being awake or asleep is used to represent being ready for Jesus’ coming or not.
- This psalm is so comforting because it reminds us of all the things God does to support, surround, and provide for us.
What’s your view of God? I’m not asking for you to draw a picture here, but what characteristics do you think of? What kind of personality do you envision?
One of the biggest questions people have regarding God is whether he is actually good or not. They see suffering in the world and natural disasters and wonder how God could possibly be good. Some even take it a step further and read part of the Old Testament and see people killed for what seem like small mistakes. And though we don’t have time to answer the ENORMOUS question of whether God is good or not, I think this week’s reading in Chronicles will help.
As King Hezekiah tries to draw the Israelites back to faithfulness and reinstates celebrating Passover, which had long since fallen by the wayside, he does it imperfectly. The people are unclean and all the specified standards aren’t met…but God is pleased none the less.
So why was his effort acceptable and others’ in Scripture were not? We can look back on a powerful verse: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Is your faithfulness circumstantial? It’s not uncommon for people to be faithful when they need something and then, as things get easier for them, they don’t “need” anything anymore and feel no need to be faithful. Obviously other circumstances effect our faithfulness as well. In today’s 2 Chronicles story, Joash’s faithfulness seems to be dependent on his mentor. We should be faithful because of our love for and reverence to God. This doesn’t change with circumstances, but remains because God remains.
2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28:
- 5 – The temple had fallen into disrepair after a number of unfaithful kings. Joash wanted to raise money to repair the temple.
- 7 – Just like the Israelites were set apart for God, the temple and all its contents were set apart for worshipping God. It must have grieved God greatly when these items were used for worshipping other gods.
- 10 – People don’t normally rejoice when paying taxes, but this tax was to restore them with their God. This seems worthy of celebration.
- 15-22 – Jehoiada’s death is a major turning point for Joash. He switches from being faithful to totally abandoning faithfulness. He listens to the wicked princes of Judah and kills Jehoiada’s son Zechariah.
- 14 – The Israelites were often temped into worshipping other gods, but normally not as quickly and blatantly as Amaziah. God had just blessed Amaziah with a war victory, which to the people of that time, was a sign that the God of the victorious army was more powerful. It seems odd that he would immediately turn to a lesser god.
- 1 – This is one of the main reasons it matters how we take care of our bodies. Our bodies should be one of our offerings to God.
- 3-8 – As the Body of Christ, we come together with a variety of talents, skills, and opportunities to serve. None are more important than the other, they just present differently. This is why we are all necessary.
- 12 – My personal favorite verse of the Bible. Feel free to claim it as your own too.
- 14-21 – Powerful verses on how we should treat one another.
- 25-31 – These sound like what it will be like when the Kingdom of God is fully realized.
- None of us can claim to have made our own hearts pure. Jesus is the only one who can do that for us.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These words were some of Jesus’ last on the cross. But they were also spoken by David in today’s psalm many generations before. What kind of pain and struggle would it take for you to say words like this? How abandoned and rejected would you have to feel?
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21:
- 6 – The “ways of the kings of Israel” were not good. There were next to no faithful kings of Israel after David.
- 15 – This sounds like an unpleasant punishment.
- 9 – Even though Ahaziah was unfaithful and was punished and killed because of it, he was given a proper burial to honor the faithfulness of his grandfather.
- 10-11 – It is extremely significant that Jehoshabeath hides and saves Joash. God had promised to sustain King David’s line. Athaliah nearly destroys this by killing off all of the royal family, but Joash is saved, which saves David’s line.
- 16 – Jehoiada became a mentor figure for Joash since Joash was just a child when he started his reign as king.
- 13-14 – This may seem like a strange technique, but if the Jews saw the new gentile Christian’s closeness to God, maybe they too would want to be saved.
- 17-20 – Olive trees are unique in that new ones grow up alongside old ones and share their roots. So an olive tree being “grafted in” actually meant that it connected itself to the nourishment and life that the established tree already had.
- 30-31 – Though it seemed unfair that the Israelites’ hearts had to be hardened for gentiles to have a chance at salvation, now it was coming full circle and gentiles were causing Jews to come to salvation.
- 33 – We should all memorize this verse for the times when we’re confused at how God is working and wondering why he does things the way he does.
- 1 – Jesus quotes this on the cross. We’re not certain which situation caused David to say it.
- 2-5 – David is able to lean on his experience with God’s faithfulness to sustain him even though he feels that he is currently crying out and getting no response.
- What an encouragement to live faithfully so our children can see it, learn from it, and be blessed.
Have you ever tried to memorize Scripture? Maybe your favorite verse? Maybe you and a friend memorized a short passage together? I think we should all try it! It’s incredible when you face a situation and a Bible verse pops into your head and it speaks directly to that situation. So let’s all try it. You can start with 2 Chronicles 20:21 from today’s reading. You’ll read it a lot throughout Scripture and it’s a great reminder.
2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37:
- 1-2 – It was not good that Jehoshaphat made a pact with Ahab, who was not faithful to God.
- 5-12 – Jehoshaphat, here, is the model for trusting God in a terrifying time. He remembers the faithfulness of God in the past and uses that as assurance that God will be faithful again, and he sought help from the Lord instead of others.
- 21 – Memorize the sentence beginning “Give thanks to the Lord…”. It is repeated throughout Scripture and should be one you have on the ready when in need.
- 14-21 – Paul makes it clear that God is more than willing to reveal himself to anyone and everyone. He continues to be faithful even in the midst of peoples’ disobedience.
- 1-2 – We can’t swing the pendulum too far the other way and assume that God now rejects all Jews because they’re not gentiles. God saves people regardless of their background.
- 11-12 – This is very interesting! The question is did God put blinders on the Israelites so they wouldn’t believe and salvation would have to be opened up the gentiles? Because if the Israelites had been faithful, God may not have needed to open salvation up to others.