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.
“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.
Oh dear sweet Azariah, you almost had it! In today’s 2 Kings reading Azariah realizes, as should have been very clear by now, that partial faithfulness is actually not faithfulness at all. Azariah seems like a good king and does a lot of faithful things, but he draws the line at destroying worship implements of other gods, which would have helped protect his people from worshipping other gods. Partial faithfulness is also partially unfaithful.
2 Kings 15:1-16:20:
- 1 – Azariah was also known as Uzziah, who we’ll hear about in the book of Isaiah.
- 4-5 – Though Azariah was faithful in a lot of ways, he did not destroy the opportunities for the Israelites to worship other gods. His punishment was leprosy.
- 12-13 – Shallum was no longer in the same family as the previous kings.
- 16 – This kind of terror and violence was foretold by Elisha. Because Israel had strayed so far from God, Hazael of Syria and others were able to get in and cause total chaos and destruction. Elisha and God were not pleased by these consequences, but they knew and warned that Israel’s sins would lead them to this type of harm.
- 37 – Not only had Israel split in two (Israel and Judah) politically, but now Israel has joined forces with Syria to attack Judah. Remember, that Israel and Judah are all descendants of one family.
- 10-16 – King Ahaz, the new king of Judah, builds an alter replicating the one in Assyria. This is not an altar to God, but to one of the Assyrian gods. The king of Assyria then dictates what types of offerings the people of Judah should offer.
- 19 – After each king’s profile it says that the rest of what that king did is written in a different book. The writers of 1 and 2 Kings only included what the king did in relation to God and the covenant the Israelites had with God.
- 13-20 – The Ephesians had seen Paul cast out evil spirits and some people wanted to do the same by using magic. It backfired and caused a lot more people to follow Jesus.
- 23-27 – It is no new thing that people are persuaded to be unfaithful in order to secure or grow their finances.
- 32-34 – A case of mob mentality.
- 35-41 – The mob is disassembled, but the issue is not resolved.
- This psalm is a series of urges to praise God followed by reasons why he is worthy of praise.
Today in both 2 Kings and Proverbs we learn to follow good advice. We are bombarded with all kinds of messages every day of what we simply must do and what is totally absurd to do. Most of these are simply trying to get us to buy something. It is important that we discern those who have our best interest in mind and are steering us in the right direction. Then, like Joash, we need to follow it.
2 Kings 10:32-12:21:
- 12 – Though Athaliah was ruling in Judah, Joash was the rightful king. When he was 7, he was crowned king by Jehoiada the priest.
- 2-3 – Joash is considered a faithful king. Thankfully he had a great advisor, Jehoiada, the priest. The “high places” listed here were places of worship to God, not other gods, that is why it was good that they were kept.
- 4-8 – Joash institutes a plan to repair the temple. The priests don’t comply and then somehow reach a compromise to no longer take people’s money and also not to repair the temple.
- 21 – Now Joash is killed and his son Amaziah takes over.
- 5-6 – It is common throughout Jesus’ and Paul’s ministries that they try to share the gospel with the Jews but when rejected they offer the same message to the gentiles.
- 7-11 – The faithfulness and hospitality of Titius and Crispus allow Paul to stay and minister in Corinth for a year and a half.
- 12 – Macedonia was the northern part of Greece. Achaia was the southern part. Corinth was located in Achaia.
- 14-15 – Like with Jesus, the Jews bring their complaints to the state official.
- 17 – Sosthenes was the chief ruler of the Corinthian synagogue.
- 8 – God’s steadfast, or unchanging, love is a theme throughout the psalms.
- 9-10 – There is no need to doubt that God wants to and plans to be merciful to all of us. We know this full well because of our salvation. Because of that abundant mercy, we should give continual thanks to God.
- Considering what we just read about Joash’s success as a faithful king because he listened to the wise counsel of Jehoiada, this seems pretty accurate.
In today’s Acts reading we meet Timothy, Paul’s protégé. Paul mentors and trains Timothy to also be able to minister to early churches and spread the gospel. Paul prepares Timothy for pitfalls, allows him to watch his ministry and travel with him, and encourages him in his gifts. What if we each had a faith protégé?
2 Kings 6:1-7:20:
- Here’s that chart of the kings again, just in case:
- 1-7 – This was not just a party trick or Elisha showing off. The man’s accident with the axe head was done while attempting to be more faithful. Elisha used God’s power to bless his faith.
- 15-19 – Elisha’s servant is given special sight to see what’s going on. The Syrian army is not struck completely blind, but just blind to Elisha’s true identity.
- 20-23 – Though a rare occasion in the Old Testament, the Syrians and Israelites are able to resolve the situation peacefully.
- 25 – People are buying donkey heads and dove poop. Clearly the famine was really bad. They were so desperate they were eating the least desirable part of an unclean animal and paying high dollar for dove poop – which they were probably burning or using for other household tasks – not eating it.
- 26-31 – While this story is absolutely horrifying – here is some background: Joram was the king of Israel. His sins as well as the sins of the people had gotten so out of control that some of the curses associated with breaking their covenant with God had started to occur. Though Joram’s response in verse 31 suggests that the famine and reactions by the people are God or Elisha’s fault, it was actually caused by the ongoing sin of the people.
- 3-20 – The four lepers were Israelites, this is why they tell the king when the Syrians’ camp is empty. The Israelites, like Elisha prophesied, had abundant, affordable food.
- 39-40 – Church disputes happen because we’re human. Like this one, God works good through our failures. Now there are two teams ministering instead of the one they had before.
- 1-5 – Timothy became Paul’s protégé. Paul circumcised Timothy, even though it was no longer truly necessary, to give him credibility with those he would minister to.
- 10 – Note that the narrator goes from being simply a narrator to a participant by starting to use “we”. This is to indicate that Luke, the writer of Acts, has joined the mission team.
- This psalm said it was written when David is in the cave. This is most likely talking about when he was hiding in the cave with some of his men and Saul came in to use the restroom. David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but only cut off a piece of his robe instead.
- At this time David has been anointed as king but is on the run because Saul is still in power and is pursuing him to kill him.
- 24 – We often look to everything else to satisfy us, but wisdom will guide us faithfully where we are supposed to go.
Now that we’ve read a little bit into the kings, let’s learn a little bit more about why we have these two books (that were once one). Warning: be prepared to be disappointed in humanity.
Peter was a faithful Jew. He followed Christ and taught others about him but still followed the laws he’d been given. In our reading in Acts yesterday and today, Peter’s world is turned upside down as God reveals to him that some of his laws were now secondary to assuring that people knew Christ.
1 Kings 15:25-17:24:
- 25-26 – What’s worse than sinning yourself is also causing others to sin. Nadab sinned like his father and also drug the Israelites down with him.
- The majority of today’s reading chronicles the parade of kings, their terrible choices, and their demises.
- 29-33 – Ahab was the worst of the worst.
- 1 – This is the same Elijah you’ve heard about. He is a powerful prophet.
- 2-7 – This is Elijah, not Ahab, who is living by the brook and being fed by ravens.
- 8-16 – As a widow, she would have had no source of income. It took a great act of faith to risk the little she had on a promise that she would be taken care of.
- 23-29 – Traditionally, a Jew wouldn’t enter the home of another people group. God made it clear to Peter that this was now ok and he no longer needed to keep these types of divisions.
- 34-35 – Remember, Jesus explained that his first mission was to “the lost sheep of Israel” or Israelites who were not faithful. Peter continued that ministry, but now it is clear that ministry has been opened up to people other than the Israelites.
- 44-48 – The Holy Spirit coming to the gentile believers was even more proof than Peter’s words that salvation was available for all.
- 10 – A wise person responds to rebukes while a foolish person can be told over and over and over.
Like trying to keep the Israelites separate from all other people groups, God often sets parameters for us to protect us. The Israelites didn’t listen, they intermingled, and it ultimately led to their destructions as they chose to worship the gods of the neighboring people. We sometimes feel stifled by our parameters and don’t want to abide by them, but ultimately, it will lead to our destruction too.
1 Kings 14:1-15:24:
- Clarification because of all the rhyming names: Rehoboam = Solomon’s son who was king of only Judah and Benjamin. Jeroboam = one of Solomon’s former officials who God appointed king over Israel. Abijah = Jeroboam’s son. Ahijah = a prophet who told Jeroboam he would be king.
- 6-12 – Choosing and worshipping other gods was the most egregious sin someone could commit. Losing a child is the most painful punishment one could receive.
- 22-24 – Though it seemed harsh at the time, now it makes sense why God drove other people groups out of the land intended for the Israelites. They were to be set apart so they wouldn’t be influenced to worship other gods and disobey God’s law. By intermingling, they have now fallen prey to these temptations.
- The list of the kings of both Judah and Israel can become complicated. Here is a chart of who was king of where when.
- When a verse has an “a” or “b” by it, this simply means to read through the first half of the verse, normally ending in a period, or to start with the second half of the verse.
- 9-16 – Peter, though a dedicated follower of Jesus, was still culturally a Jew and still followed their laws. He feared eating something that was previously forbidden, but God made it clear that he was now allowed to.
- 2 – Anointing with oil in this culture was a sign of great honor. This is specifically talking about Aaron being anointed as chief priest.
When God warns you of something, you should definitely listen. God knew that he was a better king than any human could ever be, but back in 1 Samuel the Israelites insisted on a human king like all the other nations. In today’s reading, just four kings later, the consequences of poor decisions by human kings is becoming painfully obvious. Israel has now split into two nations, weakening them and setting them up for their ultimate demise.
1 Kings 12:20-13:34:
- It’s about to start getting confusing with who was king of where when. Here’s a simple chart to help you keep them straight.
- 25-33 – Jeroboam has every reason to trust God because he had made it clear that he would keep him in power because of his great love for David. Jeroboam almost immediately loses trust and builds golden calves so the wouldn’t lose his portion of Israelites.
- 11-25 – This story gets confusing with the old prophet and the original prophet and the man of God. Note that the prophet should have listened to God above anything else. Ultimately, listening to the other prophet caused his death.
- 33-34 – Jeroboam continued to stray further and further from God’s will.
- 26 – Sometimes the consequences of our previous sins linger.
- 36-43 – Despite an unfortunate nickname, Tabitha was a great asset to those around her. She served and provided for those around her. Her resurrection also brought many people to faith.
- 11-12 – In our 1 Kings reading we are currently seeing God trying to find ways to keep David’s line in the throne though they continually turn against him.