WEEK 24, Day 7, Sunday, 17 June 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 17 June 18:

1. 2 Kings 21 — Manasseh, Judah’s most horrific king was born during Hezekiah’s extra fifteen years. He never would have been born had Hezekiah accepted God’s initial plan for him.

2. 2 Kings 21:3 — “For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.” One unfaithful generation can tear down what previous faithful generations have built.

3. 2 Kings 21:8 — “And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” God’s blessings are not automatic; they are conditional upon obedience. Don’t expect God to bless your compromise.

4. 2 Kings 21:11 — “Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did….” A wayward believer can do more evil than an unbeliever.

5. 2 Kings 21:12 – “Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.” The God of Grace does not simply ignore sin.

6. 2 Kings 22:1 — “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” In American politics there is much debate as to whether a person is equipped for the job (as there should be), but often what is more important is who that person surrounds themselves with for counsel and guidance. As an eight-year-old, Josiah was not equipped for the job, but he was surrounded by godly administrators and counsellors. Note that the first counsellor mentioned in this verse is his mother. Parents are critical to the success of their children. We will see later, that, as an adult, Josiah slips when he does not listen to sound, godly counsel.

7. 2 Kings 22:2 — What is right in our own eyes is not the same as what is right in God’s eyes. We must choose to do what is right in God’s eyes.

8. 2 Kings 22:3 — “In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord.” Josiah prioritized support to God’s temple. Political leaders must honor God above all else.

9. 2 Kings 22:7 — “But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.” It is critical that people of responsibility can be trusted implicitly.

10. 2 Kings 22:8 – “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” Sin causes God’s people to take God’s word for granted and to forget it.

11. 2 Kings 22:8, 11, 18-20 — “’I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.’ … When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes…. Thus says the Lord… because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord… and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore… you shall be gathered to your grave in peace.”

– Revival involves a return to God’s word, Spirit-led conviction, and genuine repentance. Josiah wanted to honor God by repairing the temple. However, it wasn’t until he humbly read God’s word that he was truly convicted of the depth of his sins and the sins of the people against God. Unlike the “scoffer” described in Proverbs, Josiah does not reject the Spirit’s rebuke but rather responds with a “penitent heart.” Interestingly, when Josiah and his “priest” want to get a deeper understanding of what they read, they know exactly where to go – to “Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe.” (2 Kings 22:14) Not much of Huldah is recorded in the Bible, but we know two things: one, in a time when the nation had walked away from God and could no longer hear God’s word, Huldah stood out as faithful and godly; second, Huldah was in a relatively prominent position as the wife of the keeper of the king’s wardrobe. Notice also that when Josiah wanted to understand God’s word he did not seek out the prophet Jeremiah who preached in the streets. This may be because Huldah was known, accessible, acceptable, and non-threatening. It wasn’t the official priest, the appointed religious leader who knew God’s true word – it was the woman Huldah who had genuine relationship with God. Huldah, however, did not sugar-coat God’s word but rather delivered it straight. Are you the one who stands out in your community as holy and powerfully used by God? When someone needs to understand the deeper meaning of God’s word, do they automatically think of you and go to you? Are you fulfilling your role as an Ambassador for Christ and as a priest?

– 2 Corinthians 5:20 — Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

– 1 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

12. 2 Kings 22:11 — “When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.” God’s people must study God’s word as a first priority. God’s word is the primary instrument used by God to speak to God’s people. The Holy Spirit uses God’s word to convict the hearts of His people and to show them what they cannot understand through mere intellect. When we don’t prioritize daily, diligent Bible study, we will lose the leading of the Holy Spirit and will drift into sin.

13. 2 Kings 22:12 — “Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” Generations suffer when their ancestors do not obey ALL that is written in God’s word. Jesus’ answer for world peace was to have his disciples, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” There is no substitute for obedience.

14. 2 Kings 22:13 — “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” Josiah did not take sin against God lightly.

15. 2 Kings 22:14 – “So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter), and they talked with her.” See notes above about Huldah the prophetess who was known to be a person who heard from God though she was not in a religious position.

16. 2 Kings 22:19 — “Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.” There is a big difference between being “sorry” and being repentant. A person can plead for forgiveness from God because they don’t want to be punished (sorry), and a person can plead for forgiveness from God because their heart is truly broken for having offended their Lord (repentant). The truly repentant person is concerned about restoring a right relationship with God rather than whether or not they receive punishment. The repentant person is willing to accept discipline for the sake of a renewed relationship. The “sorry” person hopes to avoid the pain of discipline.

17. Proverbs 17:3 — “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.” The LORD tests the heart in the fire of trials and temptations.

18. Proverbs 17:10 – “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” Will you learn the life lessons from the Bible, or does God have to teach you a lesson the hard way?

19. Proverbs 17:12 — “Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly.” Fools are more dangerous to you than ferocious animals.

20. Proverbs 17:13 — “If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.” Do not respond to Jesus’ sacrifice for you with sinful disobedience to Him.

21. Psalm 71:2 — “In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!” Salvation comes through the righteousness of Jesus, not through our own righteousness.

22. Psalm 71:3-5 — God is the only Rock upon which you can place your hope and trust.

23. Psalm 71:6 — “Upon you I have leaned from before my birth.” The longer you trust in God, the more you will trust Him in the future. Faith grows when you experience God’s fidelity.

24. Psalm 71:8 — “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.” Praising God all day strengthens your faith.

25. Psalm 71:15 — “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day.” The more you recount God’s blessings in your life, the more confidence you will have in His continued blessings.

26. Psalm 71:16 — “With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.” When you remind others of God’s righteousness, you also benefit from reminding yourself.

27. Psalm 71:18 — “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” A generational ministry gives you healthy purpose in your old age that benefits your health and longevity.

28. Psalm 71:24 — “And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long.” How much do you talk about Jesus each day?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 June: Sing God’s praises all day today. (Psalm 71:24)

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