Watching your kid hit his first homerun, win an award, or get an ‘A’ is exciting and exhilarating. But none of these things come close to comparing with watching your child walk faithfully with God. Today’ proverb helps remind us that this is the ultimate success in parenting.
- 1 – “Valley of vision” refers to Jerusalem. There is irony in this title because Jerusalem had always been referred to as on top of a mountain – which was both physical and figurative.
- 1-14 – This prophecy is aimed at Judah. God saved them from Assyria’s attacks and they felt they were home-free so they began celebrating instead of mourning their sins like God called them to do.
- 14-25 – Shebna was an officer for King Hezekiah but his sin was so great that he was demoted. This is an indictment on him.
- 1-18 – This prophecy is against Tyre and Sidon explaining their impending destruction.
- 1-23 – This chapter ends the prophecies against various cities and begins an apocalyptic section.
- 20-21 – Some of the most beautiful verses in Scripture that are often misunderstood. This is to say that Paul’s flesh and sinful nature died with Christ on the cross and now Christ’s righteousness should live through him. We don’t get to say we’re saved by Christ and then go on living the same way as before.
- 1-6 – Paul implores the Galatians to live out their salvation and not to try to be justified by works or to live simply as if they were never saved.
- This psalm cries out to God because they are being punished for their sins. It ends with the knowledge and understanding that God is powerful, in control, and will certainly restore them.
- It is a parent’s greatest joy to see their child walk faithfully.
Job makes a good point in today’s reading. It is one that many of us, who are trying to live faithfully, have thought about at some point. Punishment and suffering don’t always seem to coincide with sin. In fact, many sinful people seem to get ahead because of their sin. Throughout Scripture God calls us to faithfulness and promises to reward it. That reward may not come in this lifetime, but we know that God’s promises are true and we can trust him.
- 1-29 – Zophar continues to tell Job about the fate of the unfaithful. He explains that they start off wealthy and blessed but God takes that away because of their unfaithfulness. This suggests that this is what is happening to Job.
- 1-34 – Job responds to Zophar in disagreement. He explains that wicked people seem to do just fine and that wickedness and negative life results do not seem to coincide.
- 1-30 – Eliphaz once again tries to get Job to see his sin, because, due to what is happening, it must be abundant. Eliphaz encourages him to try to get back to right relationship with God.
2 Corinthians 1:1-11:
- Second Corinthians is Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinth. It is the same church he wrote to in 1 Corinthians, not two separate churches.
- 3-7 – Paul is referring to persecution against Christians when he talks about the suffering he endures for the salvation of the Corinthians.
- David is clearly in turmoil here and is weighed down by many burdens, but he ends with faith that God will take care of him. This is a good lesson for each of us. Times get difficult and we can feel weighed down, but we can always turn to God.
- 2 – Both the society of the original hearers of these proverbs as well as our current society tend to rank people. Money is one of the biggest ranking scales. But God sees beyond our monetary wealth.
- 3-4 – Throughout Proverbs there is a continual juxtaposition between the wise and the foolish, their actions, and their results. These verses continue to spell this out.
Today’s psalm is perfect if you are facing suffering or some sort of difficult time. Even if you’re not, mark it for the future. It is a reminder that God is our ultimate rescue and that he does not leave us or forsake us in times of trouble. Though it sometimes takes time, he pulls us out of those situations.
- 2-4 – Job lets his friends know they are not helping.
- 16-17 – With good reason, Job does not understand his plight considering he has been pure and upright throughout his life.
- 10-16 – Job strikes back at his friends, to some degree. He tells them he will not lay down and die but will keep crying out to God.
- 1-21 – Bildad continues to remind Job of the horrible fate that awaits all evil doers. Though he’s saying the same thing as the other friends, he is getting more dramatic with the illustrations.
- 1-29 – Job continues to cry out. He also cries out regarding his treatment by his friends asking wasn’t God’s punishment enough.
1 Corinthians 16:1-24:
- 8-9 – Paul was never one to turn down a fight. He vowed to stay in Ephesus for a while because God had opened a door for him despite significant resistance.
- 1-3 – This is a moving testimony that reminds us that God pulls us out of difficult times.
- Being worthy of respect is far more valuable than money.
The old saying, “choose your friends wisely” is never more true than in Job. Job has three friends who continually try to convince him that any suffering he’s facing is because of his sin or the sins of those around him. They try to explain things they have no knowledge of, and ultimately, they do no strengthen Job’s faith, but cause him to question it. Do your friends encourage your faith?
- 1-22 – Job’s friend, Bildad, has a similar response. He tells Job his kids had sinned against God and thus got what they deserved. Bildad encourages Job to turn back towards God because surely then God would not reject him.
- 9:1-35 – Job continues to show reverence to God and admit that he doesn’t know the depths of reasoning that God does.
- 11-1 – Zophar is Job’s third friend.
1 Corinthians 15:1-28:
- 3-11 – Paul recaps the gospel to the Corinthians and assures them that it doesn’t matter who they initially heard the gospel from.
- 12-19 – The idea that people would not one day be resurrected had gotten out amongst the Corinthians. Paul squashes this.
- 8-16 – David admits his own weaknesses and struggles and confesses that all those around him torment him.
- 28 – Though it is inconvenient and hurtful to be lied against, it will pass away.
This week we continue in 2 Chronicles and Romans, and as always, our good friends Psalms and Proverbs. In today’s 2 Chronicles reading we hear a story we learned once before in 2 Kings, but it’s worth, once again, exploring, thinking about, and weighing the consequences.
Rehoboam, King David’s grandson, had a guaranteed path to the throne, but he wanted power and control and listened to terrible advice in order to get it. He didn’t trust God’s promises to get him where he needed to be. He tried to flex his muscles to get there instead. And it failed.
Rehoboam didn’t just fail himself. His consequences are still felt today. He caused Israel to become a divided kingdom and weaken tremendously. This put them at risk of being conquered, which they were, and exiled, which they were.
Too often we fail to follow God in our decisions and weigh our consequences. This week, let’s learn from Rehoboam’s mistakes.
What does it look like for us to give of ourselves or sacrifice something? I believe, in order for it to be a sacrifice, we actually have to feel it. It has to be something we care about or worked hard for. This is why a Lenten fast from cookies for someone who doesn’t really like cookies, is not that helpful. In today’s 1 Chronicles reading, David seems to understand this when Ornan tries to sacrifice for David’s sins.
1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30:
- 16-19 – The Syrians and Ammonites were both known as strong armies. The Syrians did not like having been defeated by Israel, but David defeats them again when they come back for more.
- 1 – Presumably, this is the same time when David sleeps with Bathsheba. That story begins in the same way explaining that spring time was when nations fought and David did not go with them as he should have.
- 1 – Though there were times God asked the Israelites to number themselves, he had not asked David to do so. David is most likely doing this out of a lack of trust and wanting to be able to gauge who he could defeat in war and who he could not.
- 11-17 – David has a choice of consequences and his choice caused his people to suffer. Once it became reality, he tried to make it stop.
- 22-27 – If Ornan had given his property for David’s sacrifice, David would actually be sacrificing nothing. This is why he won’t accept Ornan’s gift.
- 25-29 – We might compare the way they were counting their circumcision as holiness to when people simply come to church these days and count that as holiness or salvation. What we look like or appear to be is not the same as having Christ as our salvation.
- 1-4 – Being a Jew/Israelite, was special to God. They were chosen and set apart. This passage explains that just because there were some Jews that were unfaithful to their covenant with God does not make God unfaithful or mean that the covenant was not meaningful.
- 5-8 – Paul asks this rhetorically. If our sin gives God more chance to be holy, shouldn’t we sin more. No! We’re still called to avoid sin.
- David chooses to take refuge in the Lord instead of following the advice of others to flee from his enemies because they are clearly ready to attack.
- 4-7 – David contrasts the righteousness of God with the sinfulness of the wicked.
We’ve talked about this before. I hate negative consequences!! Don’t you? If I have the opportunity, I like to shift the blame anywhere other myself. It’s easier that way. Unfortunately, we often blame God for the negative consequences of our sins. “Why would God let me lose my job!?!” we cry. When really the question should be, “Why did I break company policy hoping to get ahead?”
1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18:
- 4-9 – Jerusalem became the central city for the Israelites and remains so to this day, but it was not so until this conquest of David.
- 15-19 – Though David’s actions seem a bit ungrateful, he pours the water out as a drink offering because he considers himself not worthy of their extreme devotion. The reason David wanted the water in the first place is because he was originally from Bethlehem.
- Though you may not recognize or remember many of the names in the lists from today’s reading, recognize that the chronicler is reminding us that there were a great deal of capable, dedicated fighting men, particularly those dedicated to David’s service.
- 8 – Because of the snake incident, the people already thought Paul was a god. His ability to heal Publius’ father as well as the other ill people probably only solidified this thought.
- 16 – Remember that Paul is still technically imprisoned and awaiting trial in front of Caesar by his own request.
- 20 – He’s referring to Jesus as “the hope of Israel.”
- 25-28 – It would make sense that the Jews should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah since he fulfilled so many of the prophecies they knew. Many, however, were unable to see it. The gentiles didn’t have as many preconceived notions of who the Messiah should be, so they were more open to Jesus being it.
- 29 – Did anyone else notice that there’s no Acts 28:29? One does exist, and it’s pretty inconsequential, but many translations leave it out.
- 9-10 – Confirmation that when we seek God, he will be faithful to meet us. He does not hide from or forsake us.
- 1 – This is in exact contrast to how our society lives and thinks.
- 3 – So true!! How often do we blame God for the consequences we receive for our own poor choices?
I hate negative consequences, don’t you? I like to try to skirt around them as much as possible even though I totally deserve them. The sailors in today’s Acts reading are like that. They sailed far later in the season than they should have and have now put themselves and others at risk. They’re trying to figure out any way to not face the music. I can relate.
1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14:
- 2 – After a long time in exile in Babylon, the Israelites were allowed to slowly return to their land.
- 17-27 – The position of gatekeeper was one of honor. It was passed down through generations. This position guarded the gates of the temple and the chief gatekeeper manned the gate the king would enter through.
- 39 – This is Saul, the first king of Israel. We know he was from the tribe of Benjamin so that’s the tribe we’re talking about now.
- 1-7 – This is the event that finally allows David to become king. We read about this previously in 1 Samuel.
- 30-32 – The sailors were desperate and wanted to save themselves thinking they would be better off without all the other ship passengers. Paul recognizes their attempt and explains that if they leave the rest of the passengers are doomed.
- 33-36 – Whether because they were too busy with managing the storm or because they wanted to conservatively ration in case they had to be on the boat a lot longer, the people hadn’t been given food for a while even though they had it.
- 38 – With a lighter load, the ship could sail closer to shore because it would float higher.
- David writes this Psalm seemingly overwhelmed and in awe of the majesty of God’s creation and the goodness he shows to us through it.
- This is encouragement to choose friends carefully. You can’t be best friends with everyone and it’s not wise to try.
Did you catch the glimmer of hope? At the end of 2 Kings, it seems like all hope is lost until the last four verses. The king of Babylon, in a shocking move, releases Jehoiachin, a member of David’s line, from prison. It seems that even in exile all hope may not be lost.
2 Kings 23:31-25:30:
- 31 – This is not Jeremiah the prophet.
- 32 – Interesting that Josiah was more faithful than any of the kings before him and yet his son, Jehoahaz, did evil.
- 33-35 – Pharaoh Neco removes Jehoahaz from the throne after only 3 months and puts Eliakim/Jehoiakim in power. Pharaoh’s appointment and name change makes it clear that the king of Judah is now subject to him.
- 3 – This is Manasseh the king, not the tribe.
- 1-9 – Jehoiakim followed the Pharaoh and Jehoiakin did what was evil.
- 20 – God finally allows the remainder of the Israelites (Judah) to get what they keep, through their sin, asking for – to no longer be in God’s presence or under his rule.
- 9 – The Babylonians burn down the temple in Jerusalem – this was the most significant sign of God’s presence the Israelites had. This symbolically shows God and the Israelites officially separating.
- 12 – A few people are left in Judah, but they leave the lowest of the low.
- 27-30 – Evil-merodach (an unfortunate name), king of Babylon, shows kindness to Jehoiachin, which shows a slight bit of hope that exile might not be forever and Israel and the line of David may have some hope.
- 17-21 – The Jews in the synagogues knew Paul’s past and it seemed to be a barrier for some of them to believe what he now believed – that Jesus was the Messiah. Thus, God sent him to the Gentiles.
- 25 – It was illegal to use whips to gain a confession from a Roman citizen. Clearly the powers that be were unaware of his citizenship.
- 3 – “Whitewashed wall” is a metaphor for a hypocrite. Looks good on the outside, but who knows what it’s hiding.
This week we finish 2 Kings and begin 1 Chronicles. The end of 2 Kings is the beginning of Judah’s exile. At this point, we’ve already seen Israel enter exile, but Judah held out a little longer.
Quickly, before we jump into the historical accounts of the Chronicles, let’s recap the highlights of what got us to the point of both the northern and southern kingdoms being in exile:
- The Israelites demand a human king and reject God as their king.
- Rehoboam, the 4th king of united Israel is unfair and unkind to his people so they refuse to follow him. The majority of the Israelites follow Jeroboam and form the kingdom of Israel.
- Israel as much weaker as two kingdoms.
- Twenty kings in a row of the northern kingdom of Israel are evil.
- Twelve of the twenty kings of the southern kingdom of Judah are evil.
- The Israelites of both kingdoms worship other gods and forsake their part of the covenant.
So as we read, this week, about God turning away from the Israelites, remember that he is not unkind and hateful. The Israelites turn their back on God over and over until he has no choice but to allow them to face their consequences.
Reading these consequences sure makes you think about your daily decisions, doesn’t it?