1959.) Joel 2

November 3, 2016

joel2-restore

Joel 2    (NRSV)

Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near—

In Joel 1, the prophet spoke of the judgment that had arrived in Judah (a plague of locusts and drought). In Joel 2, he begins by describing judgment that will come–a mighty army set against Judah.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains
    a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old,
    nor will be again after them
    in ages to come.

Fire devours in front of them,
    and behind them a flame burns.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
    but after them a desolate wilderness,
    and nothing escapes them.

The contrast could not be greater:  before the invaders come, the land of Judah is like the Garden of Eden; afterwards it is a complete desolation.

–William MacDonald

They have the appearance of horses,
    and like war-horses they charge.
As with the rumbling of chariots,
    they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire
    devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army
    drawn up for battle.

Before them peoples are in anguish,
    all faces grow pale.
Like warriors they charge,
    like soldiers they scale the wall.
Each keeps to its own course,
    they do not swerve from their paths.
They do not jostle one another,
    each keeps to its own track;
they burst through the weapons
    and are not halted.
They leap upon the city,
    they run upon the walls;
they climb up into the houses,
    they enter through the windows like a thief.

Windows of the time were covered with lattice but no glass.  Such windows would not have kept the locusts out.

10 The earth quakes before them,
    the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
    and the stars withdraw their shining.
11 The Lord utters his voice
    at the head of his army;
how vast is his host!
    Numberless are those who obey his command.
Truly the day of the Lord is great;
    terrible indeed—who can endure it?

Joe1 day of the Lord

When the plague of locusts and the drought devastated Judah, you might have thought that Joel would encourage the people. He might have said, “Hang in there! Things are bad, but they will get better. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” Instead Joel said, “You think that was bad? Worse is to come if we don’t repent.”

12 Yet even now, says the Lord,
    return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

Sincere repentance is to turn to God, and therefore away from our sin.

Sincere repentance is done with all your heart, giving everything you can in surrender to God.

13     rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
    and relents from punishing.

joel2-rend-your-hearts
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
    and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
    for the Lord, your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16     gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
    assemble the aged;
gather the children,
    even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
    and the bride her canopy.

17 Between the vestibule and the altar
    let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.

“Between the vestibule and the altar” — this site in the temple was the usual place for priestly intercession (1 Kings 8:22; Ezekiel 8:16).  (The Reformation Bible)

Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
    and do not make your heritage a mockery,
    a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?’”

God’s Response and Promise

There is a distinct break or turning point in the book at 2:18. Up to that verse, Joel has been speaking of the desolation that would come on Judah. From then on, God tells of the deliverance which He will bring to the nation.

–William MacDonald

18 Then the Lord became jealous for his land,
    and had pity on his people.
19 In response to his people the Lord said:
I am sending you
    grain, wine, and oil,
    and you will be satisfied;

joel1-wheat-wine-oil

Grain, wine, and oil means the resources are there for worship, for meals, for daily life, for celebration!

and I will no more make you
    a mockery among the nations.

20 I will remove the northern army far from you,
    and drive it into a parched and desolate land,
its front into the eastern sea,
    and its rear into the western sea;
its stench and foul smell will rise up.
    Surely he has done great things!

21 Do not fear, O soil;
    be glad and rejoice,
    for the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not fear, you animals of the field,
    for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
    the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

23 O children of Zion, be glad
    and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
    he has poured down for you abundant rain,
    the early and the later rain, as before.
24 The threshing floors shall be full of grain,
    the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

Joe2 restore-what-the-locust-has-eaten

25 I will repay you for the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent against you.

“It will strike you at once that the locusts did not eat the years: the locusts ate the fruits of the years’ labor, the harvests of the fields; so that the meaning of the restoration of the years must be the restoration of those fruits and of those harvests which the locusts consumed. You cannot have back your time; but there is a strange and wonderful way in which God can give back to you the wasted blessings, the unripened fruits of years over which you mourned. The fruits of wasted years may yet be yours.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
    and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

God’s Spirit Poured Out

Joe2 pour out doves

28 Then afterward
    I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female slaves,
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

This was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the disciples gathered in the upper room, waiting in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised would come (Acts 1:4-5). When the outpouring of the Spirit came, the 120 followers of Jesus were all filled with the Spirit and began to praise God in other tongues. Jerusalem was crowded at that time, because of the feast of Pentecost–so a crowd quickly gathered because of the commotion. Those who heard the disciples praise God in these miraculous languages began to mock them, claiming they were drunk. Peter stood up and boldly set the record straight: the disciples were not drunk at all, but this was a fulfillment of Joel’s great prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit.

30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.

Joe2 v32

32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.

Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.

So why don’t I call on His name? Why do I run to this person or that person, when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I set down to plot my own course and make my own plans? Why don’t I immediately place myself and my burden on the Lord? 

Straight ahead is the best way to run, so why don’t I run directly to the living God? Instead, I look in vain for deliverance everywhere else, but with God I will find it. With Him I have His royal promise:  “(I) will be saved.” And with Him I never need to ask if I may call on Him or not, for the word “everyone” is all encompassing. It includes me and means anybody and everybody who call upon His name. Therefore I will trust in this verse and will immediately call on the glorious Lord who has made such a great promise.  

My situation is urgent, and I cannot see how I will ever be delivered. Yet this is not my concern, for He who made the promise will find a way to keep it. My part is simply to obey His commands, not to direct His ways. I am His servant, not His advisor. I call upon Him and He will deliver me. 

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Steve Green and “Breath On Me, Breath of God.”

Breathe on me, breath of God. Fill me with life anew
that I may love what thou dost love and do what thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with thine to do and to endure.

Breathe on me breathe on me so that I will never die.
Breathe on me, breathe on me. Grant me everlasting life, everlasting life.

Breathe on me, breath of God, till I am wholly thine,
until this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
I will restore.   https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3293/3058479827_7c0cbef911.jpg
Rend your hearts.   https://dailyverses.net/images/en/NIV/joel-2-13.jpg
I will restore to you.    http://deanneleblanc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/joel-2-25-i-will-restore-what-the-locust-has-eaten.jpg
two doves and verse.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/62ea4-joel2b2_282bwallpaper.jpg
Joel and Romans.    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/21/a4/6f/21a46fa3d60790d6df7d263f960d6280.jpg

1958.) Joel 1

November 2, 2016

Joe1 alas

Joel 1   (NRSV)

The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel:

Lament over the Ruin of the Country

Hear this, O elders,
    give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days,
    or in the days of your ancestors?
Tell your children of it,
    and let your children tell their children,
    and their children another generation.

Joe2 locusts invasionWhat the cutting locust left,
    the swarming locust has eaten.
What the swarming locust left,
    the hopping locust has eaten,
and what the hopping locust left,
    the destroying locust has eaten.

Why are we turning to read Joel now?

The prophet Joel spoke to the southern kingdom of Judah, and makes no reference to the northern kingdom of Israel. Its hard to pin down his exact time, because he doesn’t mention any other kings or prophets. Many scholars date the book of Joel to 835 B.C.

This makes Joel a pre-exilic prophet, who ministered before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel (721 B.C.) or the southern kingdom of Judah (586 B.C.). Other pre-exilic prophets include Obadiah, Jonah, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and Micah. Joel is one of the earliest prophets – only Obadiah prophesied before his time (845 B.C.).

835 B.C. was a time of turmoil and transition in Judah, at the end of the reign of the Queen Mother Athaliah and the beginning of the reign of King Joash. Athaliah seized power at the sudden death in battle of her son Ahaziah, who only reigned one year (2 Kings 8:26, 2 Kings 11:1). Athaliah killed all her sons heirs, except for one who was hidden in the temple and escaped – one-year-old Josiah (2 Kings 11:3). Her six-year reign of terror ended in 835 B.C. when the High Priest Jehoiada overthrew Athaliah and set the seven-year-old Josiah on the throne (2 Kings 11:4-21).

During her six years as queen over Judah, Athaliah reigned wickedly. She was the granddaughter of the wicked King Omri of Israel–making her daughter or niece to Ahab, one of Israel’s worst kings (2 Kings 8:26). Athaliah raised her son Ahaziah to reign in the wicked pattern of Ahab, and even brought in Ahab’s counselors to advise him (2 Chronicles 22:2-4). When Ahaziah was killed in battle and she seized power, she set her other sons to evil, even desecrating the temple and its sacred things (2 Chronicles 24:7).

If we are accurate in thinking that Joel prophesied in 835 B.C. then the judgment he described came toward the end of the six-year reign of ungodliness under Queen Athaliah. No wonder God brought a heavy hand on Judah!

–David Guzik

The name Joel means Jehovah is God and therefore constitutes a short confession of faith, somewhat like the primary New Testament confession, Jesus is Lord.

–James Montgomery Boice

Wake up, you drunkards, and weep;
    and wail, all you wine-drinkers,
over the sweet wine,
    for it is cut off from your mouth.
For a nation has invaded my land,
    powerful and innumerable;
its teeth are lions’ teeth,
    and it has the fangs of a lioness.
It has laid waste my vines,
    and splintered my fig trees;
it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down;
    their branches have turned white.

Lament like a virgin dressed in sackcloth
    for the husband of her youth.

They are mourning with the passion and emotion of a young widow. Joel doesn’t minimize the suffering. The country is looking straight in the face of devastation and ruin.

The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off
    from the house of the Lord.
The priests mourn,
    the ministers of the Lord.

These offerings, which were to be offered twice daily (Exodus 29:38-42; Leviticus 2:1-2), were lacking because the crops were destroyed. (The Reformation Bible)

10 The fields are devastated,
    the ground mourns;
for the grain is destroyed,
    the wine dries up,
    the oil fails.

joel1-wheat-wine-oil

Grain, wine, and oil were the three staples of the agricultural society of that day. (The Archaeological Study Bible) How could they survive without them?

11 Be dismayed, you farmers,
    wail, you vinedressers,
over the wheat and the barley;
    for the crops of the field are ruined.
12 The vine withers,
    the fig tree droops.
Pomegranate, palm, and apple—
    all the trees of the field are dried up;
surely, joy withers away
    among the people.

Joe1 drought

In an agricultural society, the withering of the crops leads to the withering of the joy of the people.

A Call to Repentance and Prayer

13 Put on sackcloth and lament, you priests;
    wail, you ministers of the altar.
Come, pass the night in sackcloth,
    you ministers of my God!
Grain offering and drink offering
    are withheld from the house of your God.

14 Sanctify a fast,
    call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
    and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
    and cry out to the Lord.

A public fast is proclaimed so that the entire nation could stop all regular activities for a time (probably a day, Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 14:24; Jeremiah 36:6-9) to acknowledge God’s judgment and to repent. (The Reformation Bible)

15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is near,
    and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.

Joe1 day of the Lord

“The day of the Lord” has the sense of God’s time, as opposed to humanity’s time. In Old Testament prophetical books, it often refers to a day of the Lord’s wrath against Israel.

16 Is not the food cut off
    before our eyes,
joy and gladness
    from the house of our God?

17 The seed shrivels under the clods,
    the storehouses are desolate;
the granaries are ruined
    because the grain has failed.
18 How the animals groan!
    The herds of cattle wander about
because there is no pasture for them;
    even the flocks of sheep are dazed.

19 To you, O Lord, I cry.
For fire has devoured
    the pastures of the wilderness,
and flames have burned
    all the trees of the field.
20 Even the wild animals cry to you
    because the watercourses are dried up,
and fire has devoured
    the pastures of the wilderness.

Joe1 prayer

I do believe that sometimes the Lord brings us to a place where we have no power in our situation to do anything but cry out to Him. In our hardness of heart, when all our resources are exhausted and only heaven can help, we say senseless things like, “Well, I guess all we can do is pray,” as if that is a small thing. In fact, that is the one thing the Lord is waiting for — for us to turn from ourselves to our loving Father and mighty God for forgiveness and for help!

_________________________

Music:

A powerful song for corporate confession.  HERE  is “Lead Us Back” from Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The lyrics are by Bobby Gilles and Brooks Ritter. One reviewer has written:  “This song has its finger on the pulse of the church, and poetically describes some of our shortcomings. I found myself convicted of the sins mentioned in this song and convinced of my need for God’s grace.”

Falling down upon our knees
Sharing now in common shame
We have sought security
Not the cross that bears Your name
Fences guard our hearts and homes
Comfort sings a siren tune
We’re a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You

Lord we fall upon our knees
We have shunned the weak and poor
Worshipped beauty, courted kings
And the things their gold affords
Prayed for those we’d like to know
Favor sings a siren tune
We’ve become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You

You have caused the blind to see
We have blinded him again
With our man-made laws and creeds
Eager, ready to condemn
Now we plead before Your throne
Power sings a siren tune
We’ve been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You

We’re a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You
We’ve become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You
We’ve been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Alas.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/f7/a6/eb/f7a6eb0f2fa862b744116c262205f1ca.jpg
locust invasion.    http://biblestudyoutlines.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/locustsinvasion.jpg
wheat, wine, oil.   https://christmyshepherd.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/oil-wine.jpg?w=840
dry dead crops, photo by Robert Ray, AP.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/drought-in-us-reaching-levels-not-seen-in-50-years-pushing-up-corn-prices/2012/07/16/gJQA01SopW_story.html
The Day of the Lord.    http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/359/788/359788141_640.jpg
praying.    http://www.christianfreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/prayer-on-my-knees42.jpg

1957.) 2 Chronicles 23

November 1, 2016

Little Boy Joash crowned king

2 Chronicles 23   (NLT)

Revolt against Athaliah

1 In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest decided to act. He summoned his courage and made a pact with five army commanders: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri. 2 These men traveled secretly throughout Judah and summoned the Levites and clan leaders in all the towns to come to Jerusalem. 3They all gathered at the Temple of God, where they made a solemn pact with Joash, the young king.

Jehoiada is the husband of Jehosheba, the woman who saved little Joash. It is likely that he was a father figure to the child. But he clearly saw his responsibility “as unto the Lord” to bring back a descendant of David to the throne. For all practical purposes, everyone thought that wicked Athaliah had killed off all of David’s line. What a wonderful surprise is in store for these godly men, gathered at Jehoiada’s invitation!

Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the king’s son! The time has come for him to reign! The Lord has promised that a descendant of David will be our king. 4 This is what you must do. When you priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, a third of you will serve as gatekeepers. 5 Another third will go over to the royal palace, and the final third will be at the Foundation Gate. Everyone else should stay in the courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. 6 Remember, only the priests and Levites on duty may enter the Temple of the Lord, for they are set apart as holy. The rest of the people must obey the Lord’s instructions and stay outside. 7 You Levites, form a bodyguard around the king and keep your weapons in hand. Kill anyone who tries to enter the Temple. Stay with the king wherever he goes.”

Again we see how carefully Jehoiada has reasoned things out, so that the restoration of the throne to David’s line will be done decently and in order.

8 So the Levites and all the people of Judah did everything as Jehoiada the priest ordered. The commanders took charge of the men reporting for duty that Sabbath, as well as those who were going off duty. Jehoiada the priest did not let anyone go home after their shift ended. 9 Then Jehoiada supplied the commanders with the spears and the large and small shields that had once belonged to King David and were stored in the Temple of God.

It was fitting for these soldiers, who would set the heir of David’s royal line back on the throne of Judah, to use these weapons which had belonged to King David.

10 He stationed all the people around the king, with their weapons ready. They formed a line from the south side of the Temple around to the north side and all around the altar.

2chron23-joash-the-boy-king

11 Then Jehoiada and his sons brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws.

Deuteronomy 17:18   (ESV)  

And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.

They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!”

_________________________

Music:

A little boy king!  HERE  is “Sweet Little Jesus Boy”  by Casting Crowns.

_________________________

The Death of Athaliah

12 When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and the shouts of praise to the king, she hurried to the Lord’s Temple to see what was happening. 13When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar at the Temple entrance.

Revelation 5:6   (NIV)  

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Singers with musical instruments were leading the people in a great celebration. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”

“Irony!  Irony!”

14 Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, “Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord.” 15 So they seized her and led her out to the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and they killed her there.

I am imaging her funeral (although of course she didn’t have one) . . .

“The reason so many people showed up at his funeral was because they wanted to make sure he was dead.”  
–Samuel Goldwyn, referring to fellow film producer Louis B. Mayer 

“The first thing you should do when you get up is read the obituaries. You never know when you’ll see a name that will just make your day.” 
–Ed Salisbury  

“Why is it that we rejoice at a wedding and cry at a funeral ? It is because we are not the person involved.” 
–Mark Twain
  

“You can have money piled to the ceiling but the size of your funeral is still going to depend on the weather.” 
–Chuck Tanner

“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.” 
–Garrison Keillor 

Jehoiada’s Religious Reforms

16 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and the king and the people that they would be the Lord’s people.

One commentator has written, “The climax is not Joash’s coronation but a covenant renewing the nation’s relationship with God.”

17And all the people went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

18 Jehoiada now put the priests and Levites in charge of the Temple of the Lord, following all the directions given by David. He also commanded them to present burnt offerings to the Lord, as prescribed by the Law of Moses, and to sing and rejoice as David had instructed.

Jehoiada goes back to the original instructions for worship, from God by way of Moses and David.

19 He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s Temple to keep out those who for any reason were ceremonially unclean.

20 Then the commanders, nobles, rulers, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord. They went through the upper gate and into the palace, and they seated the king on the royal throne. 21 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Joash with crown and scepter.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/joash-king2.jpg
Joash crowned king.   https://missionbibleclass.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/9_joash-the-boy-king.png
white flowers on casket.   http://prunellasonline.com/store/images/uploads/PRU195-3.jpg

1956.) 2 Kings 11

October 31, 2016

The Boy King, Joash

2 Kings 11   (NIV)

Athaliah and Joash

1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family.

Athaliah was the daughter of wicked Ahab and Jezebel, and had been given to King Jehoram of Judah as a bride. Both her husband and her son were kings of Judah. New King Jehu had killed her mother and all of Ahab’s line, so Athaliah decided to return the favor and tried to kill all of David’s line.

2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. 3 He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the LORD for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

2 Chronicles 22:11 tells us that Jehosheba was the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. Josephus says that the child and his nurse were hidden in a room where spare mattresses were kept!

4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and the guards and had them brought to him at the temple of the LORD. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath at the temple of the LORD. Then he showed them the king’s son. 5 He commanded them, saying, “This is what you are to do: You who are in the three companies that are going on duty on the Sabbath—a third of you guarding the royal palace, 6 a third at the Sur Gate, and a third at the gate behind the guard, who take turns guarding the temple— 7 and you who are in the other two companies that normally go off Sabbath duty are all to guard the temple for the king. 8 Station yourselves around the king, each of you with weapon in hand. Anyone who approaches your ranks is to be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes.”

Jehoiada chose the Sabbath for the day of the coup, because that was the day when the guards changed their shifts and they could assemble two groups of guards at the temple at the same time without attracting attention.
–David Guzik

9 The commanders of units of a hundred did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 Then he gave the commanders the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of the LORD. 11 The guards, each with weapon in hand, stationed themselves around the king—near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple.

12 Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king.

King George VI on May 12, 1937, United Kingdom

Deuteronomy 17:18 says that the king should have his own copy of the Scriptures, and here we see that Joash got his. This is the basis for the British practice of presenting the monarch with a copy of the Bible during the coronation service.

They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”

Josiah is Made King II KIngs 22:1

13 When Athaliah heard the noise made by the guards and the people, she went to the people at the temple of the LORD. 14 She looked and there was the king, standing by the pillar, as the custom was. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her robes and called out, “Treason! Treason!”

Remember, the new king is her own grandson!

15 Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be put to death in the temple of the LORD.” 16 So they seized her as she reached the place where the horses enter the palace grounds, and there she was put to death.

Her epitaph could be similar to this one from the Old West:

“He had six bullets but he needed seven.”

Or perhaps something on this order:

Erected to the memory of

John Macfarlane

Drowned in the Waters of Leith

By a few affectionate friends.

Or:

“Here’s all we have to say about her–
The world is better off without her.”

17 Jehoiada then made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people that they would be the LORD’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. 18 All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

Then Jehoiada the priest posted guards at the temple of the LORD. 19 He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of the LORD and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. 20 All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.

21 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign.

2k11-joash-crowned

Isaiah 11:6 (ESV)

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “I’m a Child of the King” sung by The Happy Goodmans. Sorry, I just can’t help it! Every so often I have to have some good old gospel music — and who better than the Goodmans?

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
The Boy King.    http://www.bibleschoolresources.net/southernkingdom/joashcrownedking-cp.gif
coronation Bible.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/coronation-bible.jpg
Joash crowned king, priest in red robe.    http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/Divided%20Kingdom%20Artwork/images/joash_crowned_king.jpg
tombstone.    http://www.spraypaintstencils.com/a-zlistings/tombstone-stencil.gif
Joash crowned, priest in blue tunic.   http://ubdavid.org/bible/know-your-bible4/graphics/6_joash-crowned.jpg
  http://www.jesuslovesyoutoday.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/2_Kings_11.197151930_std.jpg

1955.) Psalm 83

October 28, 2016

ps83-known

Psalm 83 (NIV)

A song. A psalm of Asaph.

Study the psalm in two parts:

   ·    Verses 1 – 8:  what the enemies of God and Israel are doing

   ·    Verses 9 – 18: what the psalmist wants and prays that God will do

1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.

“It is so difficult sometimes to go on living day by day without one authoritative word; and we are prone to rebuke Him for silence, that He is still, that He holds His peace….But God has not kept silence. The Word was manifested. In Him the silence of eternity was broken.”

–F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) British Baptist pastor and evangelist

2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

ancient and modern coins of Israel

ancient and modern coins of Israel

“In all the annals of recorded history there has never been a people so encircled by foes or as persecuted as the Jews have been. Yet surprisingly, the Jews have prospered. In 1836 a world census indicated that there were then three million Jews living in many countries. A century later, in 1936, in spite of severe persecutions in which many Jews were killed, particularly in Russia, a second census indicated that the Jewish world population had risen to sixteen million, an increase of thirteen million in a century. The Nazis killed more than six million Jews, but today there are more Jews in the world than before the Nazi era. The only explanation for this growth is that the hand of God has been on this people and that he has blessed them.”

–James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) pastor of Tenth Pres in Philadelphia for more than 30 years and a teacher on The Bible Study Hour radio program

5 With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—

6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them
to reinforce Lot’s descendants.

9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor
and became like dung on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession
of the pasturelands of God.”

ps83-remember

Asaph encourages himself by remembering the times in the past when the Lord has upheld his people. 

–Gideon destroyed Midian; the story is in Judges 6-8.
–Oreb and Zeeb were princes of Midian. People from the tribe of Ephraim killed them; the story is in Judges 7:24-25.
–Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian, in Judges 8:21.
–Sisera and Jabin come from another story, in Judges 4:1-24. Jabin was king of Hazor, and Sisera was the leader of his army. A woman, Jael, killed Sisera as he hid in her tent.
–Two judges of Israel destroyed Jabin’s army at the River Kishon.

13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, LORD,
so that they will seek your name.
17
May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

p83-mountains

Asaph ended this Psalm with an unexpected turn. After praying for the destruction of Israel’s enemies, he prayed that they would be thoroughly humbled (fill their faces with shame) so they would be led to seek Yahweh.

This Psalm began with a plea that God would not remain silent, and ends with the idea of His fame and glory going out to all the earth. 

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Your Grace Is Enough” — written by Matt Maher and sung by Chris Tomlin.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
 Psalm 83:18, globe.   http://prophecynewsreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/psalm-83-366×366.jpg
coins.   http://www.israel21c.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Israel-coins-268×178.jpg
Remember your people.   http://images.slideplayer.com/15/4565096/slides/slide_6.jpg
 Psalm 83:18, mountains.   http://alittleperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/psa-83-18-ww-wall-9x.jpg

1954.) 2 Kings 10

October 27, 2016

2k10-ahab-blood

2 Kings 10   (NIV)

Ahab’s Family Killed

1 Now there were in Samaria seventy sons of the house of Ahab. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria: to the officials of Jezreel, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s children.

These seventy descendants of Ahab are no doubt eager to keep the throne in the family! And they are in the capital city; Jehu is not.

He said, 2 “You have your master’s sons with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons. Now as soon as this letter reaches you, 3 choose the best and most worthy of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s house.”

4 But they were terrified and said, “If two kings could not resist him, how can we?”

Jehu:  he who is to be feared. He had already killed King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah.

5 So the palace administrator, the city governor, the elders and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants and we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.”

6 Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.”

Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. 7 When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.

After the despicable affair of Naboth’s vineyard, Elijah went to King Ahab and announced to him that every male of his descendants would be killed. Ahab repented and God postponed the fulfillment of that promise until the time of Ahab’s son.

8 When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the princes.”

Then Jehu ordered, “Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.”

9 The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these? 10 Know, then, that not a word the LORD has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The LORD has done what he announced through his servant Elijah.” 11 So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor.

This is one of the cases where the term “overkill” really does apply. The prophet Hosea says so:

Hosea 1:4-5 (New Living Translation)

And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”

12 Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 13 he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, “Who are you?”

They said, “We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother.”

14 “Take them alive!” he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked—forty-two of them. He left no survivor.

15 After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?”

“I am,” Jehonadab answered.

“If so,” said Jehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. 16 Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD.” Then he had him ride along in his chariot.

17 When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD spoken to Elijah.

"The Destruction of the House of Ahab" by Michelangelo, 1511 (Sistine Chapel, Vatican)

“The Destruction of the House of Ahab” by Michelangelo, 1511 (Sistine Chapel, Vatican)

Servants of Baal Killed

18 Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now summon all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live.” But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the servants of Baal.

20 Jehu said, “Call an assembly in honor of Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21 Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from one end to the other. 22 And Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, “Bring robes for all the servants of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them.

23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rekab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the servants of Baal, “Look around and see that no one who serves the LORD is here with you—only servants of Baal.” 24 So they went in to make sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had posted eighty men outside with this warning: “If one of you lets any of the men I am placing in your hands escape, it will be your life for his life.”

25 As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: “Go in and kill them; let no one escape.” So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. 26 They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. 27 They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.

“Demolition of the sacred stone of Baal” by Michelangelo, 1511 (Sistine Chapel, Vatican)

28 So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. 29 However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

He got rid of Baal, but he kept the golden calves. Spurgeon says of Jehu here — “Hating one sin, he loved another.”

30 The LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 31 Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.

32 In those days the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory 33 east of the Jordan in all the land of Gilead (the region of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh), from Aroer by the Arnon Gorge through Gilead to Bashan.

34 As for the other events of Jehu’s reign, all he did, and all his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

35 Jehu rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son succeeded him as king. 36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.

_________________________

Music:

Time for something a little more uplifting than the deaths of kings and queens and false prophets!  HERE  — Let’s sing about God!

“How Great Thou Art”  sung here by Daniel O’Donnell.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Ending Ahab’s Line.    http://www.elimbcc.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/blood1.jpeg
heads in baskets.     http://www.bible-topten.com/murder7.jpg
Michelangelo — Ahab.    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/sistine/16-Ahab.jpg
Michelangelo — Baal.    http://www.wga.hu/art/m/michelan/3sistina/8medalli/03_61ms.jpg

1953.) 2 Chronicles 22

October 26, 2016
Saving the baby!

Saving the baby!

2 Chronicles 22   (NLT)

Ahaziah Rules in Judah

1Then the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, their next king, since the marauding bands who came with the Arabs had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram reigned as king of Judah.

2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri. 3 Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. 4 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.

5 Following their evil advice, Ahaziah joined King Joram, the son of King Ahab of Israel, in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded Joram in the battle, 6 he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth. Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.

7 But God had decided that this visit would be Ahaziah’s downfall. While he was there, Ahaziah went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had appointed to destroy the dynasty of Ahab.

2chr22-black-obelisk

Jehu was a commander in the Israelite army who had accepted a charge from Elijah to seize the throne and eliminate Baal worship from Israel (2 Kings 9:1-10). Apparently there was widespread discontent with Joram’s rule, since Israelite troops readily took Jehu’s side (2 Kings 9:11-20). At Jezreel he killed Joram (2 Kings 9:21-28) and then went on to consolidate his power by killing Jezebel, the entire family of Joram, the ministers of Baal and 42 relatives of Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kings 9:30-10:28). No one was left to oppose him. Now bereft of allies, however, Jehu submitted to Assyria. He paid tribute to Shalmaneser III, as is recorded in the Black Obelisk from Nimrud, discovered in Iraq in 1846 (as pictured above:  Jehu kneeling before Shalmaneser).

–notes from The Archaeological Study Bible

2chr22-jehuobelisk_artistdepiction

When the ancient Assyrian Cuneiform inscription was translated the biblical world was shocked. The inscription reads, “The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.”

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/07/top-ten-biblical-discoveries-in-archaeology-%E2%80%93-9-jehus-tribute-to-shalmaneser-iii/

8 While Jehu was executing judgment against the family of Ahab, he happened to meet some of Judah’s officials and Ahaziah’s relatives who were traveling with Ahaziah. So Jehu killed them all. 9 Then Jehu’s men searched for Ahaziah, and they found him hiding in the city of Samaria. They brought him to Jehu, who killed him. Ahaziah was given a decent burial because the people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat—a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.”

“The final movements of Ahaziah are difficult to trace but may perhaps be reconstructed as follows: he fled south from Jezreel so as to hide in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu, who fatally wounded him near Ibleam (between Jezreel and Samaria); he fled by chariot northwest to Megiddo, where he died (2 Kings 9:27); and his body was carried by Ahaziah’s servants to Jerusalem (2 Kings 9:28), where they buried him.”

–David F. Payne

But none of the surviving members of Ahaziah’s family was capable of ruling the kingdom.

Queen Athaliah Rules in Judah

10 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of Judah’s royal family.

The King of Judah, Jehoshaphat, had married his son, Jehoram, to Athaliah, the morally bankrupt daughter of Israel’s wicked Ahab and Jezebel.  Politically, this alliance should have minimized the differences between north and south.  Theologically, however, it threatened the Lord’s guarantee that Judah should continue as a state at all.  And the end result is the death of all of Jehoshaphat’s descendants save one.

11 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. In this way, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid the child so that Athaliah could not murder him. 12 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.

“This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”  While Athaliah thinks she has everything under her control, there is a baby in a small bedroom in the temple, and God is caring for him! And God is caring for you just as tenderly as he is caring for that little boy in the temple!

_________________________

Music:

And how can this story of little Joash not remind us of baby Jesus? Both sons in David’s royal line — both hidden away from a monarch intent on killing them — both purposed to bring people to God.  HERE  Mariah Carey sings “Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child” and I hope you’ll be humming this cheerful number all day long!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
saving the baby.    http://www.deafmissions.com/inc/devotions/1158994800.jpg
Black Obelisk and artist’s reproduction.       http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/07/top-ten-biblical-discoveries-in-archaeology-%E2%80%93-9-jehus-tribute-to-shalmaneser-iii/
baby boy.    http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/infant-boy-under-blanket.jpg