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Sunday, August 18, 2019

2 Kings 11 and 12

The political, religious, human drama, continues in 2 Kings!  Plots, assassination, and evil lurking.  It is not always a pretty sight.

My friends Stacey and Angela are Blogging Through the Bible with me, and if you missed their recent posts, you can find chapters 9 and 10, @ No Longer Lukewarm, and chapters 7 and 8 @ Scribbles and Sustenance.  Here I address the next chapters as we journey through the Bible cover to cover, finding treasures, and questions.

2 Kings 11 and 12
Athaliah, an angry mother, literally set out to kill and destroy the royal family.  The Bible does not give gory details, but can you imagine the evil, the suspense, and the plotting?  Obviously not an example of honoring God or fellow man, or of humility.

Future King Escapes Massacre

I have great difficulty keeping up with family lineages, and throne heirs, but it did stick with me, that Joash, son of of Ahaziah was rescued and relocated, hidden well with his nurse, at the temple of the Lord for six years!

Evil Woman Killed

Meanwhile Athaliah, the evil woman was ruling (perhaps informally) until in the "seventh year," Jehoiada the Priest seems to set about with a plan.  He conspires  an elaborate plan with "the commanders of  units of a hundred," to bring down Athaliah.  

Young King  Out of Hiding, is Crowned

He, Jehoiada the priest presented young Joash as crowned king, preserved son of Ahaziah.  The people cheered, and evil Athaliah was lured.  In that scenario, she was hauled out of the temple and killed.

With Athaliah removed from power, Joash began ruling. Figure head in the beginning, one would likely conclude, because he was only seven years old when he began ruling. 

He ruled for forty years and during this time, the temple of false god Baal was torn down and Baal servants massacred.

2 Kings 12:2 "Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord..."

Mis-management of Temple Funds is Addressed

Chapter 12 of 2 Kings, talks about mismanagement of temple funds by the priests, for failure to "up-keep" the temple, until Jehoiada (head priest I presume) made administrative plans to organize and get things done.  With some policy change provisions and plan was implemented so that mason workers, carpenters, and all workers responsible for giving a days work to improve temple building and grounds, were properly paid.

The End of a Good King

Under Joash's rule life seemed to be pretty good, but sadly Joash was assassinated by "his officials."   Go figure.  The ultimate betrayal.  Assassination of a man that did what was right in God's eyes. (2 Kings 12:2) 

Dare you name the themes seen in 2 Kings 11 and 12, which are repeated repeatedly in human history?

When does life on earth have the best chance of being the best?  When people try to honor God's will, or if they do not give a care?

Do bad things sometimes happen to good people?

What is the HOPE for Christians who have bad things happen to them?
My Take-Aways:
Greed, selfishness, irresponsibility, continue to be character flaws that humanity, politics, churches, have to reckon with.

Reflecting back on this history it is easy for me to conclude (my opinion) because the priest Jehoiada had much to do probably with raising Joash, and certainly with installing him as king, and he was a good king, then all along, seems that this priest was rightly serving God and being an instrument for His will.

Dear Father, 
I am grateful to have your Word preserved to learn from.  I want to be an instrument to be used by You, for Your purposes.  All of my hope is in Jesus, that in Him I may have right standing to be used by the Holy Spirit to do kingdom work. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Sunday, August 11, 2019

2 Kings 5 and 6

2 Kings 5 and 6, carries again, the theme that God blesses the obedient, and rebellion and evil behavior begats undesirable consequences. 

Again, I disclaim, I do not entirely summarize the chapters but rather bring forth discussion  points documenting my journey through the Bible cover to cover, with my amazing blogging sisters.  You can catch what Stacey blogged for this endeavor, at Scribbles and Sustenance, and Angela is doing this remarkable work of sharing links to ALL our Blogging Through the Bible work, and plus own posts, at No Longer Lukewarm.

2 Kings 5 and 6 Most significantly to me, is Naaman's healing of leprosy. A hero of his time, for his military accomplishments, he is in a position to reward his healer.  Directed by his wife, upon advice of her servant who was Israelite,  he packed gold, silver, and special made garments.  First he goes to the king of Israel, I suppose looking for this recommended prophet.  It stressed the king out because he knew that he could not cure his leprosy.  He sent Naaman to Elisha, the true prophet of the one true God.

Naaman was NOT happy when Elisha, instead of greeting him personally,  sent a messenger with a message to him.  The messenger instructed Elisha to go to the River Jordan and wash 7 times, saying "...then you will be healed."

Initially indignant, Naaman did not respond humbley and obediently at first, but when he did, he was HEALED.

In awe of what had happened, he converted to being a believer in the God, the only true God, whom Elisha served.  Elisha would not take any pay.  

Knowing this, one of Elisha's assistants deviously went secretly (he thought) to manipulate Naaman, presenting false facts to Naaman to intercept dishonestly,  possession of a portion of the pay that Naaman intended for the one who healed him.

When this assistant faced Elisha after his secret  and devious pillage (taking what was not his), Elisha called him on it exactly, and pronounced regretful prophecy that he and his family would have leprosy for generations.  Yikes.

One more detail of this story, strikes me.  (2 Kings 5:18-19) Before Naaman parts from Elisha, he asks to be forgiven that his master (King of Aram, as I understand the scriptures) bows in the temple of Rimmon (false god) and "leans," ON him.  Elisha responds, "Go in peace."

Now I may be wrong, but my personal opinion from that scenario is that God's mercy covers SOME guilt by association and God does not expect us to righteously object EVERY unrighteous association that we may find ourselves in.  What do you think?

Husband has problem with pornography (mine does NOT), but "Go in peace."  It is his spiritual problem before God, not yours.

Boss is atheist, and....  His problem.  "Go in peace."

How many more ways could this apply?  My opinion entirely.

In chapter 6, Elisha performs the miracle of a floating iron axe-head, and further more in accordance with his prayers to God, the Aramean army is blinded, strategically loosing their sight for a period of time, and yet when they were literally under siege, and Elisha's servant feared, Elisha prayed for his servant's "eyes to be opened" (to see the spiritual and the invisible) and he was amazed to see "hills full of horses, and chariots of fire," as the protection that the Lord had set around them.

Want to witness MIRACLES and EXCITEMENT?  Read the Old Testament!  Join us in reading the Bible cover to cover.  Know that it is the same God THEN as TODAY.

All glory and honor to our creator, the Heavenly Father who provided us with our savior, ransom sacrifices for the world's sin, if we but accept His provision as a gift and is the same powerful today, as any time before, and will ever be...  Way of salvation shared here in this post at Telling Hearts, if you would like to be a child of this one true, Almighty God.

My big take aways:

If you serve God, you are on the winning side!!  If you rebel against Him, His truth, or His people, BEWARE.

There is an invisible world around us.  I choose to serve the one in control of it all.  How about you?

We are free to seek our own salvation and righteousness in Christ, with out carrying burden for sin of others necessarily (Naaman and his master bowing to Rimmon).
Oh Lord, I thank You for your care and patience towards Your people.  You are amazing and awesome!  I want to always be on Your side, the winning side.  May Your Holy Spirit grow strong in me.  By Your wisdom and direction, may I live, love, and serve. If/when I am in a scenario where I am near to others who are far from your will, your way, please give me insight to do the right thing, and to represent the light of Jesus Christ, my redeemer whom you provided. In Jesus's name I pray, Amen

*  Would you care to LIST the miracles that God demonstrated to His people and to the world, even in these few chapters?  Does God HAVE to do that?  Why do you think He did/does on occasion (if you believe He still does, ever)?
*  Whose side do you want to be on?  How do you want to live your life, to show which side you want to be on?
*  Have you ever been in a situation comparable to that of Naaman with his master who bowed to Rimmon, where you felt your morals or values were corrupt by association?  What did you do?   How did you handle it?  Can we ever go wrong with prayer, and seeking counsel of Godly Christian family?
Thank you for joining us as we blog through the Bible.  Would you share the posts, to promote interest and enthusiasm for God's word preserved?

Would you contribute to the discussion in the comments below?  God bless you in the sunshine, and Sonshine,

Monday, August 5, 2019

1 Kings 21-22

Blogging Through the Bible with my Christian sisters, has been a tremendous system of accountability and encouragement for each participant!  We invite you to join us in reading the Bible cover to cover. Share in our discussions as we take turns publishing about our reads.  

Recently, Stacey addressed chapter 17 and 18 of 1 Kings @ Scribbles and Sustenance, and Angela presented on chapter 19 and 20 of 1 Kings @ No Longer Lukewarm.  Now I share thoughts on the next chapters, and so it goes each week!

1 Kings 21 and 22

I see several themes recurring in these chapters, and noteworthy here is that these chapters are documentation of the history of the times for these people, along with the "book of annals of the kings," which is mentioned repeatedly in the Holy Bible.

Recurring themes would be the number three, the number seven, and reference to someone who has displeased God, as having their blood or their flesh consumed by dogs or scavenger birds.  Hmm.  All of those topics would make an interesting side study in the future.  I mean, not that I personally wish to know more about scavenger birds in particular, or the history of dogs in ancient civilization, because I do not, but I am interested in the numbers theme and significance of blood because obviously those themes carry over significantly into New Testament.

Uniquely to these chapters, we meet Naboth, and King Ahab's wife Jezebel.  The scenario that played out between those three is not a lot unlike scenarios that could play out anywhere any contemporary year in many parts of the world today.  King Ahab lusts after some property (Naboth's vineyard) and sulks big time when Naboth has the audacity to refuse his reasonable offers.  It is a matter of sentimentality or respect for ancestral heritage that seems to keep Naboth from accepting the KING's offer.

When Jezebel sees her husband's consequential disappointment and sulking behavior, she chides him, and then takes matters into her own hands.  She devises this devious plan to get Naboth killed !!

To carry out her evil plan, she pre-meditated, impersonated (sending out letters of instructions in Ahab's name), and schemed, as well as apparently paid off some scoundrels.  Verse 8-14 of chapter 1 Kings 21, you have to read it!!

When Naboth is stoned to death, innocent party, as a result of Jezebel's scheme, this royal husband and wife are simply selfishly delighted.  King Ahab goes to the vineyard to take possession of it, and to his surprise he meets the  true prophet of the time, Elijah.  Whew!!

This is where Elijah informs King Ahab of his dismal doom... disaster on him and his descendants, and dogs and birds to consume human blood and flesh.  Verse 19-26 of 1 Kings 21, spells out the consequences coming and makes it clear that it is a result as to displeasing God, dishonoring God, "doing evil," and behaving in "vilest manner."

Interestingly, verse 27-29, King Ahab takes Elijah's prophecy of doom seriously, and grieves and seems to repent somewhat.  God lessens the sentence slightly.  

Seriously, we encourage you to read these chapters along with us, and join the discussion.   Each participant of Blogging Through the Bible has their own style that may even vary from post to post.  In this project we have the freedom to blog as we wish, accountable to God.  We LOVE the accountability and count ourselves as blessed to have the opportunity to share discussion of God's word, which we hope is an encouragement to others for kingdom purposes.

In the beginning of chapter 22, some political tension is brewing, and King of Judah, named Jehoshaphat tries to solicit an ally in the King of Israel.   Jehoshaphat urges the king of Israel to, "First seek the counsel of the Lord," so king of Israel brought together about 400 prophets.

450 prophets of Baal is mentioned in 1 Kings 18 !!  Not all prophets represent the one true, and Holy God!!  Uh-oh. Now honestly v.6-28 gets quite confusing to me, but by v.19-37, I understand that a war has been played out and despite another scheme (king at war in common clothes and someone else in royal robes), King of Israel, who summoned the false prophets for counsel (right?) is killed.  In the whole battle scene (v. 29-37 of 1 Kings 22), Ahab's name is not mentioned, but before and after those verses, Ahab is mentioned as the King of Israel, the same one that delighted in Naboth's tragic slaying by set-up stoning, so presumably this is Ahab's END on earth.

V. 43 1 Kings 22 says that Jehoshaphat "...did what was right in the eyes of the Lord," and so it is not surprising, (v.44) "Jehoshaphat was also at peace with he king of Israel." 

More details are given, and "book of annals of the kings," is mentioned as secondary source.  Whew!  Am I an authority?  Absolutely NOT.  I am a novice.  I am a Bible lover.  I am a blogger.  I would delight for a kind authority, to join our discussions here.  In the meantime, us blogging sisters continue our travels through the Bible.  Thanks for joining us.  We hope we are an encouragement to you, to get in God's word.

*What themes to you see repeated, as per God's anger?
*What evidence from these chapters do you see as to the mercy of God?
*So this culture produced both good, and bad kings.  Kings that sought to please the one true God, and those that did not.  *Why do you think?  *What contributes to formation of a peoples' values or life choices?
*What can we do to HELP our society be shaped for GOOD?

Dear Father in Heaven, I thank you for your Word preserved, that I can read and learn.  I pray that by the Holy Spirit in my life, I will learn what you would have me to learn, and do what you would have me to do.  I am not a king or a queen in government, but I want to be an influencer for your kingdom purposes.  I want to live rightly.  All of my hope is in You.  In Jesus's name I pray. Amen

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