Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

O. T. #1008  "The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful"
June 21, 2017
Summary of 2 Chronicles
If My people, which are called by name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

LET IT GLOW

People are so different. While a family may have some who are a good influence, some who are a bad influence, there usually are a few who are beautiful. By that I mean those beautiful folks rise up above their rough circumstances and hard times, showing faith in God as they serve Him and others. Those are the Christians that shine through with the ray of hope-God is faithfully with them, in control, and is victorious. Judah seemed to have had some of each kind.

I always like to review what was covered in the book that we finished studying. It seems to put things in perspective, especially since we have covered so much of Judah's history. The Priest Ezra was the author. He lead the second group of Jews out of Babylon and back to Jerusalem to help rebuild their city, its walls, and the Temple. He wrote this book so this new generation would in fact know their history, both good and bad.

King David's son Solomon became king after his father's death. David had prepared the materials and the intricate plans for the Temple. Then Solomon implemented those plans. He built a magnificent Temple for the worship of Israel's God, including the sacrificial system. (Israel had not split then.)
It took him 7 years to build the Temple  and 13 years to build the palace. So Israel was in a 20 year building program.

Solomon wrote 2 Psalms, 72 and 127. In Psalm 27:17, Solomon refers to Jesus: His name shall endure forever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed.

Jesus is our Beautiful One. He shines as the Savior who endured so much so we could have the free gift of salvation and grace. He is always with us, always loves us, and is always going to be, as the song goes.

Solomon's dedicatory prayer was sincere and lengthy as we read in chapter 6. After all the splendor of the day, God spoke to Solomon informing him that God had chosen that Temple and Jerusalem for His dwelling place. Then He added some conditions to be met when Israel strayed away, found in our key verse. Solomon had 49 years of peace and prosperity during his reign. His purpose of centralizing and unifying Israel in the worship of God was accomplished. Wealth, fame, and political power were the greatest during this time.
However this did not last, sadly to say.

LET IT GROW

It was happened-the downward spiral. It was  during the reign of David's grandson and Solomon's son Rehoboam that Israel split into two kingdoms-the northern kingdom known as Israel, whose history is recorded in the first part of 2 Kings. They were taken captive by Babylon 135 years before Judah was.

Judah's problem (sin) was their worship of idols instead of worshiping God. Out of the 20 kings they had, there were only about 5 who were considered good kings, the ones who brought back revival into the land. this list included: Asa (chapters 14-16), Jehoshaphat (chapters 17-20), Uzziah (chapter22) , Josiah (chapters 22-24) Hezekiah (chapters 29-33).

On the other hand, Manasseh was the most wicked and longest reigning king over Judah (chapters 33-36). He had been born during the 15 extended year of life of his father Hezekiah.

So we do not end on a sour note, remember the ray of hope Judah had as Cyrus, king of Persia, who had conquered Babylon, released the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem, its wall, and Temple.

You know, as I consider all of this, we are not any different from Judah. We get into the same cycle of worshiping God with complete commitment, then fall into sin and stray away, finally we return back to God, usually after His discipline us. do I hear an amen?

Thank God for His mercy and grace! All we need to do is humble our self, pray, seek God's face, and turn from our wicked ways, then God promises to hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

I am looking forward to studying the book of Ezra next. Restoration is coming, so don't miss out, dear ones. There was a remnant who stayed faithful to God during those 70 years of captivity and they are rising up. 

LET IT GO

Stay faithful to God.

Love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Bless the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Ray of Hope


O. T. #1,007  "A Ray of Hope"
June 20, 2017
2 Chronicles 36-Part 5
To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate and she kept Sabbath, to fulfill three score and ten years.

LET IT GLOW

Have you seen lately a beautiful sunset in which clouds hide the bright sun, allowing the rays to shine through? What a gorgeous sight! Anyone need a ray of hope? For sure! Our God always comes through for us friends. Oh, it may not be in the way we expect or in the time we wish, but He is faithful. That is one thing we can know for certain.
Judah had a ray of hope after 70 years of captivity, of servant hood away from their homeland. Join me as we find out the source through whom this ray shone.

Judah's people remained in captivity of the Babylonians until the land was compensated for the years (dating from the beginning of the monarchy) when the sabbatical years had not been observed as the Law said.
Leviticus 25 and 26 allowed Israel to sow the fields and prune their vineyard, and gather their fruit for 6 years. Then they were to allow the land to rest, by not planting and harvesting it. However, their greed caused them to disobey the Law. For 490 years this was done, so they thought they got away with it. but not so-God rested the land 70 years, which was one year out of 7 required.

Galatians 6:7 tells us, Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Ezra, the author of this book, passed over those 70 years of exile for Judah in his writings. The people were out of the land and out of God's will.
God's clock is not spelled B-U-L-O-V-A  or G-R-U-E-N; it is spelled I-S-R-A-E-L, and it only runs while Israel is in the land. (McGee)
The clock of judgment began in 605 B.C. until the first deportation in 536 B.C. when the first group of Jews returned to Jerusalem and started to rebuild the Temple, found in Ezra 3:8.  (MacArthur)

Throughout this book, we read of 5 periods of revival, renewal, and reformation in Judah. Within each period, Judah returned to worship God and His sacrificial system, in obedience to the Word of God, which lead to repentance and temporary reformation of the nation: Kings Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah. (Sadly the other 15 kings did not do so.)

LET IT GROW

As we read the conclusion of Second Chronicles, we find a bright hope, with a ray of hope for the future of Judah.
King Cyrus of Persia made this proclamation for the Jews in captivity after the Temple:
  • This was the Word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.
  • So the Lord put His hand upon Cyrus for this proclamation.
  • It said: The LORD , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build Him a temple at Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever among you of His people may go up, and may the LORD his God be with him.
The next book which we will study is called Ezra, entitled by its author, who is the same one for the books of Chronicles. In it he tells the story of this proclamation and the return of the exiles of Judah.

The nation of Judah was stripped off its foundation-kings were gone, the Temple was destroyed, and the people were removed from their Promised Land. God is a firmer foundation, however. When everything in life is stripped away from us, we too still have God-His Word, His presences, and His promises. (Life Application Study Bible)

How gracious God is! We will be reading of the lamenting and broken heart of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the trouble Daniel and the remnant encountered while captives in Babylon. Let us not forget that God is sovereignly in control and faithful to His children.

If God is with me, whom then shall I fear? The song goes.

LET IT GO
                              ... and remain faithful to God.
                               ... of my focus on surrounding circumstances and focus on God.
                               ... and ask Him for a ray of hope, letting go of my dreams.
                               ... as I allow God's ray of hope to shine through me.

Monday, June 19, 2017

No Knock at the Door

O. T. #1,006 "No Knock at the Door"
June 19, 2017
2 Chronicles 36-Part 4
And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.  2 Chronicles 36:19

LET IT GLOW

Family is welcome at our house. There's no need for them to knock at the door and wait for us to open it, then invite them inside. And that is the way we want it. Usually they holler to make their presence known, though. That way I am presentable. They are welcome to go into the kitchen and check out the snack drawer or raid the frig anytime.That's the way it is with family, right?

It wasn't that way at Judah though. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not knock on the King Zedekiah's palace door and wait for a invitation to enter. No, he rushed in, pushed over the wall, and burned Jerusalem, including the palace, then took Judah into captivity for 70 years.

We knew it was coming didn't we? Judah knew it, also, for God had sent His prophets to warn them to repent and only worship Him or else. (Jeremiah and Ezekiel)

But the people mocked these messengers of God, and despised their words. They scoffed at their words until the LORD's anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.
2 Chronicles 36:16 NLT

Ezekiel 22:30 NLT says I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out My fury on them, consuming them with the fire of My anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.

It was because of the sins of Manasseh, turning Judah to idol worship and away from God. Following Josiah, the good king, were the last 4 bad kings. Time had run out for Judah.

Parents are often patient with their children, warning them to stop their wrong, disobedient behavior. However, when the warning is not heeded, punishment comes in order for the correction of the behavior to take place. So it was with Judah and with us. God chastens His children. He wants us to do right. He desires the best for us and knows that comes with obedience.

LET IT GROW

What did the Babylonians do in Judah?
  • They killed Judah's young men, even chasing them into the Temple.
  • Having no pity on the people, they killed both young men and women, the old.
  • Neb took home all the large and small articles used in the Temple of God. Remember they were made of valuable gold, silver, and bronze.
  • Included were the treasures found in the king's palace and the officers' as well.
  • Then the Babylonian army burned the Temple, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed anything of value.
  • The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, the world empire reigning. They became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
Jeremiah wrote Lamentations to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and the beginning of the exile.
He wrote in 3:22, The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.
In verse 38 we read, Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?

Amen.

LET IT GO

Accept the disciplining of the Lord God in my life.

Let it bring me to my knees of repentance.

Be encouraged that God's mercies never cease and are new every morning.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O LORD God!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Doing the Popular Thing

O. T. #1005  "Doing the Popular Thing"
June 16, 2017
2 Chronicles 36-Part 3
You won't be handed over to them if you choose to obey the LORD. Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you.  Jeremiah 38:20

LET IT GLOW

Well, here we are folks, studying about the last king of Judah, Zedekiah, before Babylon conquers them. The prophet Ezekiel had already been taken away captive in 597 B.C. and Jerusalem would soon fall to Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. If only Zedekiah had not done the popular thing, worshiping idols, and did the right thing, which was worshiping God. The people would have followed him and they would not have gone into captivity and the Temple destroyed.

What do we know about this Zedekiah?
  • He was 21 when he became king and reigned for 11 years. (verse 11)
  • He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God.  (verse 12)
  • Zedekiah refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the LORD.
  • He rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God's name. (verse 13)
  • While Jeremiah was in prison for being falsely accused of supporting the Chaldeans (in the land of Benjamin), King Zedekiah inquired from him if there was a word from the Lord. (Jeremiah 37:17) He was lowered into a cistern in the prison yard. Although doom was coming, Jeremiah requested more humane conditions than in his dungeon. The king transferred him to a more suitable prison. (Falwell)
  • Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart, as KJV states. (verse 13)
Friends, let us not harden our heart toward God in spite of our situation. Job asked if we should only accept good from God and not bad. Look at what all he went through-loss of children, animals (financial), support of friends, and health. Yet, God spoke with him and restored his losses.
Let us not be stubborn in our own sinful ways. Jonah refused to preach to Nineveh and ran away, but God brought him back and to the point of obedience. Such a great revival occurred. God can use extreme measures in lives as He brings His people back to Him.


LET IT GROW

All the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices  of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the LORD that had been consecrated in Jerusalem. (verse 14 NLT)

The people of Judah turned from worshiping God to worshiping idols of false gods. Moses, prophets, and others warned them not to turn to the gods of their enemies. At first they did it secretly, then openly. As the king lead his people, they followed the popular thing to do, though wrong.The Lord chastened His beloved ones, and they repented. It seemed to have been a continuous cycle of sin.

But they would not turn back to God, so God had to turn against them.  (Wiersbe)

Do we ask our teenagers if the popular thing to do is the right thing to do? The "jumping off the cliff" thing. Although it is difficult to go against the flow, it is better than to not drown in sin.

God did raise up prophets and leaders faithfully serving Him during those difficult times. Some suffered for their faithfulness-Jeremiah, the weeping prophet and Ezekiel and Daniel taken captive.


LET IT GO

Keep a soft heart toward God and His Word.

Discern whether the popular thing is the right thing to do.

Help others return to God.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

When Plans Are Dashed

O. T. #1,004  " When Plans Are Dashed"
June 15, 2017
2 Chronicles 36-Part 2

LET IT GLOW

Even though Josiah was a good king of Judah who brought her back to worshiping God in His Temple with the reading of His Word, his two sons did not follow in his footsteps. Jehoahez was taken prisoner by Pharoah Necho II after only reigning 3 months over Judah. He died in Egypt.

Jehoikim, his older brother, was made king by the king of Egypt. He taxed the people severely in order to pay tribute to Egypt since his brother had emptied the royal treasury paying Egypt. Both brothers did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Then came Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon.

Notice this which Falwell tells us:
Neuchadnezzar was actually the crown prince and coregent with his father Nabopolasser. While in Jerusalem, he received word of his father's death; he was called home to Babylon for immediate for coronation as sole king.
Before he left, Neb took the vessels in the Temple with him.
Jehoikim's son, Jehoiachin was made king of Judah, but he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, also. He only lasted 3 months as king. Neb besieged Jerusalem and took Jehoiachin and the royal family as permanent captives to Babylon, the second deportation. The third group captured was 10,000 leading citizens. This only left the poorest people to be puppets in Babylon's hands. This was the beginning of the 70 year of captivity of Judah by Babylon.

LET IT GROW

Reading in Jeremiah 36, we find that King Jehoiakim cut off a section of the scroll read to him by Jehudi, the messenger of Jeremiah, which the Lord had given, and burned it. Thus the Lord's Word came to Jeremiah-Jehoiakim will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David.

How can we find encouragement in all of this mess? It's there in Jeremiah 45:1-5. The Lord gave Jeremiah a message for Baruch, the one to whom he dictate God's Word. He had been serving this unpopular prophet for a long time, writing his boo of struggles and judgments.

You have said, "I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven't I had enough pain already? And now the LORD has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest."
Baruch, this is what the LORD says:" I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don't do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the LORD, have spoken."

Can you imagine living during this time in Judah? Would we have been like Baruch, anxious about our plans for a bright future that are being dashed? Did he set his expectations too high so disasters were hard to bear? Have we taken our eyes off of God and put our focus on our self? Look for God's purposes instead of what we are giving up. It easy to loose the joy of serving Him.

Dash, in Webster's Dictionary, has several meanings, including:  to affect by mixing in something different; to knock, hurl, or thrust violently.

Sometimes life hurls at us the unexpected. Our future plans are changed and we are knocked down as discouragement and reality hits us head on. But for the believer, God is in control, sees what is going on, and will be our strength as we trust His will. His love never ends!

LET IT GO

Stay focused on God; don't seek great things for myself.

Trust His ways to be higher than my ways.

Know that God never fails.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Which Road Will We Walk Down?

O. T. #1,003  "Which Road Will We Walk Down?
June 14, 2017
2 Chronicles 36
Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave you and your ancestors forever. Do not provoke My anger b worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you. Jeremiah 25:5-6

LET IT GLOW

What do people think they will gain by traveling down an evil road? It only leads to destruction. Are they trying to gain the whole world, yet loose their soul, as Tobby Mac sings? Is it worth it in the long run? I think not. Good shall prevail, for God is in control. Will we pray for revival and repentance? Let us continue on the road of faith God, dear friends.

Well, after King Josiah's death, his son Jehoahaz was made the next kin in Jerusalem.
What do we find out about him? There are just 4 verses in this chapter and  in 2 Kings 23 which give us answers:
  • He was 23 years old whenever Jehoahaz began to reign over Judah.
  • He only reigned 3 months.
  • He did what was evil in the LORD's sight.
  • Jehoahaz was put into prison by the Pharaoh Necho of Egypt. First he was taken in bondage to Syria and then taken later to Egypt, where he died. This was done to prevent him from ruling in Jerusalem.
  • Necho demanded Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold.
  • Necho replaced Jehoahaz with his son Eliakim, which means God has established, and changed his  name to Jehoiakim, which means the Lord has established. This showed that Necho was lord over the land. (It was the way of those in the ancient Near East as a sign of authority.
  • In order to get the silver and gold that Pharaoh Necho demanded, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah. He required them pay a proportion to their wealth.
  • Jeremiah continued to prophesy during this time.
Need I say that the last 4 kings of Judah, following Josiah, were bad kings? You know, if this rascal Josiah had only listened to Necho and not gone to war with Egypt, but allowed them to pass through Judah on their way to fight Babylon, this would not have happened. Not only did Josiah pay for his mistake with his life, but his descendants paid for his mistake also.

Let us keep in mind that the evil ones will pay for their sins, if not in this life, then in the next, if they do not repent. It is sad to say, but true.

Which road will we choose to walk down in our life?

LET IT GROW

For a little history during this time:
  • Jehoiakim taxed his people severely to pay tribute to Egypt, though he still had enough to build a magnificent palace for himself. (Jeremiah 22:13-14) Daniel was taken captive to Babylon in 605 B.C. Jeremiah and Habakkuk likely appeared on the scene at this time of kingly abominations. (MacArthur)
  • Nebuchadnezzar was the son of the founder of the Babylonian Empire. In 605, he became king and won the battle at Carchemish. That loss crushed Assyria. (Life Application Study Bible)
  • Ezekiel predicted the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
  • King Nebuchadnezzar burned the Temple and every substantial building in Jerusalem. More Jews were deported to Babylon that year.
  • Then Babylon falls to Persia in 539.
  • Persian King Cyrus allowed Jews to return to rebuild Jerusalem in 538.
  • Esther became queen of Persia in 478.
  • Ezra the priest was sent to Judah in 457. He is the author of 2 Chronicles.

Even though Judah will soon go into captivity in our reading due to their idolatry, God allows Jerusalem and the Temple to be rebuilt by a remnant of believers.

Will our nation turn from the evil road on which it is traveling and turn from the evil things it is doing? Only today I heard of a shooting of an official and his body guards. Rebellion has turned to hate, which  has turned into an attempt of murder? Really? And this is happening in America.
Let us pray, my friends.


LET IT GO

Walk on the road of faith in Jesus, not on the road of evil.

Pray for our national leaders.

Pray for the evil ones to have a change of heart.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Heeding Wrnings

O.T. #1,002  "Heeding Warnings"
June 13, 2017
2 Chronicles 35-Part 2

LET IT GLOW

He should have stayed at home. He should have stayed out of the fight. He had no business engaging in this war. Josiah was a good king of Judah. He was the man responsible for the return of the Word of God and the Passover observance. Why did he not heed the warning?

Let's se what was going on:
  • The Assyrian capital of Nineveh had fallen to the Babylonians in 612 B.C.
  • Egypt, who wanted to be a world power, was going down to aide her ally, Assyria, in 609 B.C.
  • Assyria regrouped at Carchemish and Haran.
  • Egypt went to fight at Carchemish by the Euphrates River because it was to their advantage to her to have a weak Assyria as a buffer against Babylon.
  • However, Josiah saw Egypt's potential power as his newly gained independence, so he tried to prevent Necho from passing through Judah and he went up against Necho of Egypt in war.
Do you know people who want to always be in charge? What about those who do not want counsel; those who do not want to submit to authority; those who always want to do things their way? When their projects turn out to be a mess they can't figure out why. But do they ever learn from their mistakes?

LET IT GROW

Josiah was warned by Necho, as he sent messengers to the king of Judah. In verse 21 we read, forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that He destroy thee.

In other words, and New Living Translation puts it:
What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do no interfere with God, who is with me, or He will destroy you.

Do you think this godly king headed the warning?
  • He refused to listen to Necho, to whom God had indeed spoken. He rejected divine prophecy.
  • Josiah disguised himself and led his army into battle. 
  • Enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him.
  • Josiah commanded his men to take him from the battle, for he was baldy wounded.
  • Josiah was taken out of his chariot and placed in another chariot.
  • He was brought back to Jerusalem, where he died.
Pharoah Necho was a pagan king who served as a spokesman for God, though momentarily.
Even though Josiah had followed the Lord, God did not turn His judgment on Judah, but because of Manasseh's sin of idolatry, the die had been cast.

Necho went on to Carchemish and held off the Babylonians for  years, but in 605 he was soundly defeated, and Babylon moved into dominating world power.

What can we learn from this?
God's messages may come in unexpected ways. Let us not allow prejudice or false assumptions to blind us to God's message, but have an open, listening ear. Heed godly advice.


LET IT GO

Listen to God's warnings.

Watch out for pride and prejudice.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Time Passes Quickly

O. T. #1,001  "Time Passes Quickly"
June 12, 2017
2 Chronicles 35

LET IT GLOW

King Josiah made a total commitment to God on the part of Judah. There was no halfhearted service; no going with the world and trying to go with God as well. There was a clear-cut dedication of heart and life to God When that takes place, the Spirit of god is free to move. (McGee)

All the days of his life they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers. (34:33)

Did you notice that we only have 2 more chapters left in this book that Ezra wrote to the Jews returning to Jerusalem?

What happened in this chapter?
  • Josiah kept the Passover in Jerusalem. (verse 1) This was confirmation of his obedience to the newly found Law. 
  • He assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them to work in the Temple. (verse 2)
  • He ordered the Levites, who taught all Israel and had been set apart to serve the LORD, to put the Ark in the Temple, which was built by Solomon. (verse 3)
  • The Levites were to no longer needed to carry the Ark back and forth on their shoulders.
  • They were told to spend their time serving the LORD their God and His people Israel.
  • They were to report for duty according to the family divisions of their ancestors, according to the directions of King David. (verse 4)
  • The Levites were to stand in the sanctuary at the place appointed for their family division and help the families assigned to them as they brought their offerings to the Temple. (verse 5)
  • The Levites were told to purify themselves, slaughter the Passover lambs, and prepare to help those who came to the Temple, following the directions the LORD gave Moses. (verse 6)
Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
Apparently, the Ark had been removed, possibly for one or two reasons:                       (1) It had been removed from the Most Holy Place during the reign of one of the preceding wicked kings, either by a king himself of by the priests to protect it from the king by hiding;                                                                                                                   (2) It had been removed while the Temple was being repaired.
Since the Ark was permanently housed in the Temple, King Josiah noted that the Levites were free to perform other responsibilities. (In Moses' day, the Levites carried the Ark as the Israelites traveled through the wilderness some 40 years.)

Are we freed from our sinful lifestyle to serve God? It comes from repentance and turning to Christ.


LET IT GROW

In verses 7-9, we read of the huge amounts of animals which Josiah and his princes provided the people: 30,000 lambs, 3,000 bulls, 2,600 cattle, and 300 oxen.
The service was prepared;the priests and Levites stood in their place. The Passover lambs were roasted. Then the following week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread meat was boiled in pots. It all lasted a total of seven days.
The singers and musicians, in addition to the gate keepers, were serving in their assigned  places.

Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. (verse 18)


Even the 17,000 lambs of Hezekiah's great Passover did not compare to Josiah's 30,000 lambs offered at the Passover.

God's people remembered their ancestors being freed from the slavery in Egypt as they observed the Passover, which was symbolic of the death of Christ to come. Four hundred years had passed since this happened.

Time seems to pass quickly the older you get. I had heard that from my elders, but didn't understand until my experiencing it in my own life. As children we can't wait to be a teenager. Then we want the twenty's to come. After that, it doesn't seem to be a big deal, until the middle ages hit. Then we realize our life may be half over and what have we accomplished? Soon we older folks will be in heaven, waiting on the younger ones to join us. Then we will all enjoy a new heaven and new earth together with Jesus. What a joyous time!

LET IT GO

Do not depart from God's Word.

Freely serve our Lord Jesus while we have time here.

Share His love and salvation so others can be in heaven with us.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Standing in Our Place


O. T. #1,000  "Standing in Our Place"
June 9, 2017
2 Chronicles 34-Part 4
But I have spared you for a purpose-to show you My power and to spread My fame throughout the earth. Exodus 9:16 NLT

LET IT GLOW

I am so thankful that God has allowed me to study His Word with you, dear friends all this time. It is humbling to think that He uses me to share His encouragement and Truth around the world. I celebrate today as the 1,000th lesson in the Old Testament. He is a good, good Father, and we are loved by Him. Wish you were here to grab a blueberry muffin and iced tea and sit on my porch of this country road of faith. Join me again as we search for answers in His Word.

The King Josiah received discouraging words from the Law and the prophets. Doom and captivity was headed Judah's way, in time to come, because of their idolatry and neglect of obedience to God's Word. But, you know, I don't read of him staying in his room, curtains drawn, and deep in depression. What did he do?(Verses 30-33 give us the answers.)
  • First of all, the king went up into the House of the LORD.
  • He was joined by all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem the priests, the Levites. (That is to be expected, isn't it?)
  • In addition, all the people, greatest and least, joined them.
  • Josiah read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the House of God.
  • The king stood in his place and made a covenant before the LORD to walk after the LORD and keep His commandments, and His testimonies, and His statutes, with all his heart, all his soul, and to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
What a godly and committed king! We saw it earlier when he was 16.
Whatever happens to us in the future, can we stand in our place, committed to follow God completely as Josiah did, not matter what? Count me in, Jesus!
Lift our heads, Lord, for it ain't over yet. Though our heart has been broken, keep us walkin' by faith. Though our prayers aren't answered yet, keep us standing where you put us. We are holdin' on to You to get us through this, so please hold us.


LET IT GROW

Look at verse 32. The king caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. They made a pledge similar to that of the king. They renewed their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors.

Then Josiah removed all the detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the LORD their God.
And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the LORD, the God of their ancestors.

Yes! They came full circle again, worshiping God to worshiping idols, and back to worshiping God again. Now that is a good note to end on today.
Sweet ones, let us join together praising and worshiping and giving glory to our Holy One of Israel, Great Jehovah, Lord Almighty, King Jesus! Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, praise His holy name.

Have a wonderful weekend, ya'll.  I'm spending it with my husband's siblings at a beautiful Missouri state park soaking in the beauty of God's creation and the love of family. Christian, let us stand by faith in Jesus!

LET IT GO

Stand by faith, being faithful, where God has placed me.

Stand to it, keeping my commitment to Him.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hearing Bad News

O. T. #999 "Hearing Bad News"
June 8, 2017
2 Chronicles 34-Part 3
When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. 2 Chronicles 3:19

LET IT GLOW

Josiah is a good example for us to follow. When he heard the Word of God, he sought His will, was humbled, and even wept in repentance of the sins of his people. What do we do whenever we hear bad news?

When the Book of the Law of Moses was found in the Temple, it was read to the king of Judah, Josiah. Then he sent the high priest and royal officials to consult a prophetess named Huldah to determine God's perspective on the situation.
What did the LORD say through her?
  • God was going to bring disaster upon Jerusalem and its people.
  • All the curses written in the Scroll read to the king of Judah will come true.
  • For His people abandoned Him and offered sacrifices to pagan gods.
  • He is very angry with them for everything they had done.
  • God will pour out His anger on that place, and it would not be quenched.
God would send His judgment upon Judah about 28 years later, using Babylon to take them into captivity and destroying the Temple as well as Jerusalem. Can you imagine the brokenness of the king's heart as he heard of what God promised?
It is difficult to have to stand by and watch a loved one broken and death coming. Such is the case of those going through the effects of cancer or heart deterioration or Alzheimer's. We don't want them to suffer in their last days, and God is merciful in that area.
When our hope is in Jesus, we can have His peace and love as we go through those valleys.

LET IT GROW

A specific message for Josiah from the Lord said:
  • You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this city and its people.
  • You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before Me in repentance.
  • He heard Josiah and promised He would not send disaster until after Josiah died and had been buried in peace.
  • Josiah would not see the disaster God was bringing upon Jerusalem and its people.
Can we see the seriousness of sin? Do we hear people excuse their sin, blame others, or pretend it isn't so bad as they compare it to other's sins?
Josiah was so appalled at the people's neglect of the Law that he tore his clothing expressing his grief. Our sins should lead us to "godly grief" that produces repentance as in 2 Corinthians 7:10.
An unread Bible is as useless as a lost one. Even reading the Bible is not enough; we must be willing to do what it says. (Life Application Study Bible)

Wash us in Your mercy, the blood of Jesus' sacrifice, for our righteousness is as dirty rags. Clean us Lord Jesus.

LET IT GO
                     ...of sin and be sorry, humbled, weeping, and repentant over it.
                                ... and pray for our loved ones to get to that point in their life.
                                ... of spending my time my way and spend it in the Bible, obeying it.

















Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Anticipation

O. T. #998 "Anticipation"
June 7, 2017
2 Chronicles 34-Part 2
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  (Isaiah 40:31)

LET IT GLOW

Anticipation. What commercial used that son? Was it syrup being poured on top of a pancake? If you are like me, the hardest thing to do is wait. We wait for vacation time to come, appointments, birthdays, special events, and test results. We are planning a vacation to Oregon in August. We are planning our agenda with anticipation of seeing the beauty of God's creation there-mountains, waterfalls, ocean, etc. However, there are some other things for which we await before that time comes, so I needed that key verse.

The word wait in the key verse above is the Hebrew word qavah (kaw-vaw'), which means to bind together; collect; to expect; look; wait; tarry.

I don't want to be weary or faint as I wait upon the Lord. I want to have my strength renewed. How about you? But how does this happen? It is God who does it.

God is the strength of my heart. My portion forever. Psalm 73:26b

If I keep repeating this verse it will surely sink into me, right?
We're an overcomer, as the song says. There's nothing God can't do, so let's stay in there, waiting for God to work in our situation. It will be for our good and His glory. So don't quit and don't give in dear one. Keep walking by faith in Jesus. (I hear those words, too.)

Okay. When King Josiah was 26, he had workers repairing the Temple, due to his father and grandfather desecrating it with idols. As the people sent money for the project, it was placed in the Temple. Then Hilkiah the high priest found  the book of the Law of the LORD given by Moses. (verse 14) He gave it to Shapan the scribe, who in turn read it to the king of Judah. (Keep in mind that Ezra is writing this book to those Jews returning to rebuild the Temple after being captives in Babylon for 70 years. How encouraging for those Jews to hear.)
The thing is, there were few copies of the Law back then. No copy machines were available. What is significant is that the Word of God had not been lost. Think about it-the Bible has been preserved for us throughout all those ages. How precious I should be to us-the God of the universe speaks to us. Mind boggling to me.

The book of the Law that Hilkiah found may have been one or more scrolls containing the entire Pentateuch-the books of Moses from Genesis through Deuteronomy. Apparently Shaphan  did not realize the importance of the discovered Book since he left the report of it until after the general progress of the work. (Holman)

Can you imagine what it would be like if suddenly all of our Bibles disappeared, including our pastors' Bibles? How devastating it would be! It is our Bread of Life as Jesus feeds our soul. Do we treat it with respect and special significance? Are we reading it daily or is it just another book on the shelf collecting dust? Of course, I know you are not doing that, but others do.

LET IT GROW

The king's reaction is important, for he influenced a whole nation. Josiah tore his clothes showing strong emotion when he heard the Word of God for the first time. He realized that he and his people had strayed so far from its instructions. (verses 18-19)

King Josiah sent 4 men on a mission, who are listed in verse 20:
  • Go to the Temple and inquire of the LORD for me and the remnant in Israel and Judah.
  • Inquire about the Words written in the scroll that had been found.
  • For the LORD's great anger had been poured out on them because their ancestors had not obeyed It. 
  • The king admitted they had not been doing everything this scroll said they must do.
Keep in mind that prophets Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah were warning Judah of God's judgment.
Judah had stopped being faithful to the sacrificial system Moses recorded. Can you imagine the anticipation of what God had to say? We will wait in anticipation for the answer that God gave.


LET IT GO

Grieve over my sins and the sins of others.

Take them to God.

Surrender for His strength to be mine.

Anticipate soaring on wings as eagles with Jesus.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Having Hope

O. T. #997  "Having Hope"
June 6, 2019
2 Chronicles 34


LET IT GLOW

We have been waiting 7 months for answers to a health issue. Hope to have it this week. Judah's king found hope in today's chapter.

God is the strength of my heart. My portion forever. (Psalm 73:26b) As we are unsure what is in store for our future, our hope is in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Did Judah give up hope? The nation had plunged back into idolatry during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon as their kings.

Would you agree with me that it was about time for revival in Judah? Although we may wonder if there is any hope for these chosen people of David's line, there is always hope. All things are possible with God, while not with men. God can move in hearts in His timing and in His way.

Josiah was the next king to reign over Judah. What do we read about him?
  • He was 8 years old when he began reigning. (verse 1)
  • He reigned 31 years in Jerusalem.
  • Josiah did what was right in the sight of the LORD.
  • He walked in the ways of his father David.
  • He didn't turn from doing what was right. (verse 2)
  • At age 16, Josiah began seeking the LORD, the eighth year of his reign. (verse 3)
  • He began purifying Judah and Jerusalem, and the Temple, crushing idols into dust, smashing and scattering all of it over the graves who sacrificed to them. (verses 4-5)
  • He even cut down the incense altars for idols throughout the land of Israel.
Talk about a revival! God can move upon the young people when they begin to seek Him and study His Word. Josiah was 20 when he began his reforms in Judah; God can bring reformation to our nation and young people. When sins are confessed and forgiven, changes in lives will be evident. As we get older, I find it common for folks to get set in their ways, even loosing hope, becoming lukewarm is spiritual matters.
Dare we pray for the Holy Spirit to move and make these tremendous changes needed in us, our churches, and nation?
Let it begin with us Lord Jesus!

LET IT GROW

So when Josiah was 26 years old, he began to repair the Temple-the damage his father and grandfather had done in their idolatry.
What happened next?
  • the high priest Hilkiah, delivered money into the House of God.
  • The Levites kept its doors open as the remnant in Israel, the "lost tribes" of Manasseh and Ephraim, sent money for the repair. (Israel had been taken into Assyrian captivity at this time.) (verse 9)
  • The restorers of the Temple are mentioned in verses 10-13.
  • Hilkiah found the book of the Law of Moses in the Temple, which was considered lost. He gave the scroll to Shaphan.
  • In verse 16-18, Shaphan gave a good report to King Josiah and read to him from the scroll.
  • When the king heard the Words of the Law, he rent (tore) his clothes in despair, for they had not been doing everything the scroll said they must do.
We will see what happens as a result of this revelation by the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 says All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Do we know Its instructions for the Christian life? Are we accepting of Its correction and reproof?
Is God's Word inspiring us with hope?

Jeremiah was prophesying during the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign as king of Judah. He gave hope in his writings:
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. (Jeremiah 17:7)

Will you join me in putting our hope in Jesus today? It is a win-win situation, whether God heals or not.

LET IT GO

Place my hope in Jesus.

Pray for revival and reformation.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mid-Life Crisis

O. T. #996 "Mid-Life Crisis"
June 5, 2017
2 Chronicles 33-Part 3
"My wayward children," says the LORD, "come back to Me, and I will heal your wayward hearts." Jeremiah 3:22

LET IT GLOW

Do you know any middle aged people who have done crazy things? They may quit a long-time job or leave their family to pursue their own happiness? They leave  behind broken pieces and broken lives, only to have regrets later. Sure God forgives the repentant heart, but it is never the same. Satan is behind division, so we must guard against it. King Manasseh was evil until he was taken captive, then he repented and had a changed heart. Unfortunately, his son followed in his earlier footsteps and not the latter.

King's Manasseh's evil sickens us, and we wonder how God could ever forgive him. Not only did he intentionally offend God by desecrating Solomon's Temple with idols, but he also worshiped pagan gods and even sacrificed his children to them! Despite the bitter consequences of hi sins, he learned from them. (He was taken captive into Babylon.) Then he humbly repented of his sins before God. God will go a long way to get someone's attention. Forgiveness is limited not by the amount of sin but by our unwillingness to repent. How far has God gone to get our attention? (Life Application Study Bible)

So Manasseh came to know that Yahweh is God. (verse 13)

Looks like Manasseh's son, Amon, would have learned from his father's bad choices, but not so.
What do we find out about the next king of Judah, Amon?
  • He was 22 years old when Amon reigned in Jerusalem. (verse 21)
  • He only lasted 2 years as king.
  • He did what was evil in the LORD's sight, just as his father had done. (verse 22)
  • He worshiped and sacrificed to all the idols his father had made.  
  • But unlike his father, Amon did not humble himself before the LORD. (verse 23)
  • Instead, Amon sinned even more.
Whatever repentance or reform Manasseh attempted did no carry over to his son and successor, Amon. He picked up where his father had left off before his repentance, going back into idolatry. but with Amon there was no mid-life repentance. (Holman)

Sometimes it takes people 40 or 50 years to grow up; to come though the experience of a mid-life crisis realizing their life might by half over; to turn around and take responsibility for their actions; to even repent of their sins and try to make the best of what time they have let, coming to Jesus. It is sad that so many marriages do not survive that time.

Will we remain faithful through whatever life throws at us? Will our challenges bring us to our knees and result in our walking closer to God? Will we trust that God is in control and has a purpose for us? Keep in mind, sometimes troubles come due to the sinfulness of others.

LET IT GROW

What happened to Amon that he only reigned two years as king over Judah?
Amon's own officials conspired against him and assassinated Amon in his palace. he people of the land killed those who conspired against King Amon and they made his son Joash their next king.

The people were probably outraged by the assassination, so they had Amon's killers executed.
Killed at age 24, what short life.

LET IT GO

Friday, June 2, 2017

Rings in the Nose

O. T. #995  "Rings in the Nose"
June 2, 2017
2 Chronicles 33-Part 2

LET IT GLOW

Talk about humbling. I have had such an experience this week. The side effects of this new medication I have been on is an itching rash, even hives. I thought I was doing fine, with only one episode of horrible itching, that required a steroid shot, but not so. It started again after I waded through tall grass to turn on water to fill a lamb's bucket. (Taking care of my granddaughter's pets while they enjoy a vacation at the beach.) I was in tears by the time I got back home, rubbing and scratching both legs, even after a shower. I told my husband what was happening to me, and he suggested I use alcohol on the itchy spots. I was desperate so I gave it a try. What a relief! But that was 4 days ago and it happened again without my wading in the grass. Alcohol has not helped this time, so I took a pink pill. As I write this, I stop and scratch, then write some more. Please Jesus make it stop! Yes this is very humbling. Judah's king had a humbling experience in today's reading.

So when this overwhelmingly evil man Manasseh was king of Judah, he worshiped idols to the full extent; he even placed them in the Temple of God. All the good that his father had accomplished, including bringing revival to the people in worshiping God, became just a story written down.
However, the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but how did they react? Was it repentance? No, they ignored all His warnings.

What happened next?
  • God sent commanders of Assyrian armies and they took Manasseh prisoner.
  • They put a ring in his nose and bound him in bronze chains.
  • Judah's king was led away to Babylon.
  • While in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors.
  • When he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request.
  • So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom.
  • Then Manasseh finally realized that the LORD alone is God!
I must admit that I would have given up on this man long before God did. Isn't it amazing that God did not give up on this cruel and evil man, a blasphemer? God knew how to humble him, though.
A ring in the nose of a king? He was treated like an animal. I have seen big bulls lead around and acting gently as a lamb because of the ring in their nose. And taken away as a captive slave-how humiliating and a helpless position.
Oh how gracious God is! This should be encouraging to godly parents of straying children. Our God can bring them back to Him. Don't give up, for God hears our prayers. After all, He did Manasseh's.
What will it take?


LET IT GROW

Manasseh was a changed man:
  • He rebuilt an outer wall high  around Jerusalem,
  • stationed his military officers in all the fortified towns,
  • removed the foreign gods and the idol in the Temple,
  • tore down the altars in Jerusalem,
  • He restored the altar of the LORD,
  • sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it, and
  • encouraged his people to worship only God.

What an experience for Manasseh. Finally, my itching is beginning to subside.
Watch out for those rings!

LET IT GO

                               of pride and be humbled.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

When Things are Horrible

O. T. #994  "When Things are Horrible"
June 1, 2017
2 Chronicles 33
Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will sore on wings like eagles; they  will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 HCSB

LET IT GLOW

Here is something good I found in this chapter. It actually appears in verse 7-9, after the horrible description of King Manasseh.

God had told David and his son Solomon this:
  • His name would be honored forever in the Temple and in Jerusalem-the city He chose from among all the tribes of Israel;
  • If the Israelites would be careful to obey God's commands-all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses-He would not send them into exile from this land that He set aside for their ancestors.
When God made a covenant with David and Solomon, He made a three way connection between the dwelling in the Temple in Jerusalem, the people dwelling in the Promised Land, and the obedience to the Law. (Holman)

When things are horrible, what do we do? As said before, God is sovereign, in control. He will not play second fiddle to anyone or anything. He will be first place in our life, one way or another. It may take our being led into captivity as Manasseh was, or losing everything, or being humiliated, but He will bring us to repentance so God's will is done in our life. Others may suffer because of our rebellion, while we wander in sin, but love and forgiveness are awaiting us. If this isn't us, but we are going through such a thing with a loved one, let us continue to pray for them and our strength to wait.
Is Jesus calling us to bring our brokenness to Him today?



LET IT GROW

The next king of Judah was Manasseh, the son of the good King Hezekiah. this horrible king changed Judah into a horrible place, and a horrible people since they followed What do we know about Manasseh, known as the most wicked and longest reigning king of Judah?
He:
  • was 12 years old whenever he took the throne. (He born during Hezekah's extended life of 15 years.); he  was the 13th legitimate king of Judah;
  • did what was evil in the LORD's sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the LORD had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites;
  • rebuilt the pagan shrines his father had broken down;
  • constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles;
  • bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them; 
  • built pagan altars in the Temple of the LORD;
  • built altars for the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the LORD's Temple;
  • sacrifice his own sons in the fire;
  • practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft;
  • consulted mediums and psychics;
  • did much that was evil in the LORD's sight, arousing His anger;
  • took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God's Temple;
  • led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the LORD had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.

What can we say?
Hang on, for mercy is coming.

LET IT GO

Love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What, Where, and Weary

O. T. #993  "What, Where, and Weary"
May 30, 2017
2 Chronicles 32-Part 5
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding.  Isaiah 40:28

LET IT GLOW

How often do we grow weary and ask God what was going on? Where is God in the midst of all of this trouble? Our faith hangs on my a thread. It seemed to be King Hezekiah's situation, but God was faithful and compassionate. Walk with me, friend, as we read of this good king's last years and doings.

Prophet Isaiah wrote chapters 40-66 in his book at the time of Assyria's invasion. He was described as the most notable figure, after David, in the entire history of Israel. In the face of national crisis he practically guided the helm of the state during Hezekiah's day, encouraging Jerusalem to hold out against Assyrian invasion when all others were ready to submit.  (Falwell)

King Hezekiah prayed to God, not through a priest, but directly himself, as we do through Jesus. He asked for a healing on his death bed, and received 15 more years. He was extremely blessed with treasures and honor. Oh the wonder of it all. Miraculously, God even stopped time in order to reassure the king that he would survive the sickness and enemy Assyria would be stopped.

Did you receive encouragement as I did whenever I read our key verse? He is our Everlasting God, our Creator; the One who does not grow weak nor weary; the Sovereign God that we trust to do what is right. He is faithful forever. Let faith arise, for He is faithful forever, as the song goes.

Will we surrender our next 15 years to be lived for the glory of God?


LET IT GROW

We read more details of what happened when the messengers from Babylon came to visit Hezekiah. It is found in Isaiah 39, when the prophet asked 3 questions of Hezekiah: What did those men want? Where did they come from? What did they see in your palace?

Hezekiah said they were from Babylon; they saw everything I own, all my royal treasuries.

Do you think pride came to Hezekiah as well as the Babylonians? Was he impressed that a powerful king would show him attention? What a foolish thing Hezekiah did, showing his treasures to an enemy. That would make them want to get them for their king.

Isaiah told Hezekiah that the day would come when his treasure would by carried of into Babylon, as well as his descendants. Although, this would not happened during Hezekiah's lifetime.
God had withdrew His hand in order to test Hezekiah during all of this, to see what was really  in his heart. (verse 32)

Well, as all good kings did, he died. However, Hezekiah was buried with the family of King David. Manasseh, his son born during the extended 15 years of life, was made king over Judah, when he was 12.
It isn't always wise to throw our pearls to the hogs to be trampled on, as Jesus remarked.

When we get weary, be assured God understands. How good to know, that He does not give up on us.
Should we not do the same for others?


LET IT GO

Trust my Everlasting God in everything.

Know that He understands when I do not, and has a purpose.


Leaving Our Lot to the Lord

O. T. #992  "Leaving Our Lot to the Lord"
May 30, 2017
2 Chronicles 32-Part 4


LET IT GLOW

As I have shared before, God gave me the gift of an extended life. It was in 2001 after my surgery, that I stopped breathing. The doctors were able to give me a medicine to counter act too much pain medicine. Today's king was given his gift, too, but 15 added years.

In verse 24, we read that King Hezekiah of Judah became deathly ill, prayed to God for healing, and was healed after figs were put on his boil. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord said that He would heal the king and in 3 days he would be allowed to enter the Temple again, and stopping Assyria their enemy. However, Hezekiah asked what sign God would give to prove He would do as promised.

This conversation is left out of our chapter, but found  in 2 Kings 20 and Isaiah 38.
Would you like the shadow on the sundial to move backwards 10 degrees or forward 10 degrees/steps?

As the king said, it would have been easy for it to move forward, but difficult to move backwards. That would take a miracle of God, so that is what he chose. Either God moved the sun backwards so 40 minutes were added to that day, or the shadow on the steps of the palace sundial changed. (20 minutes back and then 20 minutes to catch up to the time it should have been) My faith believes God moved the sun backwards, which only He could do, for He was its Creator, as a sign for His servant. If He had reversed the rotation of the earth, then things would have been thrust forward into space, right?

Keeping that in mind, our chapter does not give that detail of the conversation, but it says Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him and he became proud. So the LORD's anger came against him and Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his pride, as did the people of Jerusalem. So the LORD's anger did not fall on them during Hezekiah's lifetime.

Could this pride have come after his healing, his seeing time stop, and God keeping His promises?

David Guzik said that Hezekiah was given 2 gifts: the gift of extended life and knowing he only had 15 years to live.

Although he had 15 more years given to him, Hezekiah should have left his lot to the Lord, accepting his time of death, for the son he had during those years became the most wicked king Judah had.

Can we leave our lot to the Lord Jesus? Or do we beg Him for more years or time? We should trust His timing for us to be best, not our timing.


LET IT GROW

We read where Lord took care of Assyria by killing 185,000 in his army. Also, Hezekiah lived 15 more years, was very wealthy, and highly honored, both were given by God. He had full storehouses, added cities, and possessions.

Even though all of this was a blessing, pride crept into Hezekiah's life once again. When ambassadors of Babylon came for a visit, he exposed everything in his treasury to them. Showed them around, did he? Honestly, did he have no common sense? To reveal such wealth to an enemy? One day, in 612 B.., Assyria would return to claim all of Judah's possessions for themselves. I suppose it was a blessing that this did not happen during Hezekiah's lifetime, but it did happen to his ancestors some 116 years after Hezekiah died.

As I recall, when a woman kept begging a judge for something, he finally gave it to shut her up, which was a parable of Jesus'. How merciful is our Judge! We deserve to be cast into Hell, but it is because of the blood of Jesus being shed for you and me, as well as our sins being washed away with it, that this doe not happen. What a glorious Savior! Even when we mess up, as Hezekiah did often, He still  forgiving and shows us grace. Glory to God in the highest!


LET IT GO

Have self control and discernment.

Surrender to God's will in His timing.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Weeping Tears

O. T. #991  "Weeping Tears"
May 9, 2017
2 Chronicles 32-Part 3


LET IT GLOW

The king of Assyria, Sennacherib, intimidated Judah and was ready to attack Jerusalem, then challenged God, but God responded by killing 185,000 men in his army. God proved Himself sovereign and all-powerful.  So the king went home and his 2 sons ended up killing him.

We pick up the res of the story of Hezekiah in verse 24. Hezekiah became deathly ill. In fact, the prophet Isaiah spoke words from the Lord God:
Set you affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness. 

Here is one of the greatest kings of Judah, the most devoted spiritual leaders, a repairer of the Temple and restorer of true worship of Jehovah, a remover of idols, and invited Israel to join them in observing the Passover-he was warned that he was going to die. (Some think he had a cancerous boil.) This faithful servant of God had completed his purpose? So soon? Wouldn't we be in shock if the doctors told us to get our house in order, for death would be coming to us soon?

How did this wonderful king react to such news?
Verse 2 says he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you. Then he broke down and wept bitterly.


Who can blame him?

LET IT GROW

We read of the Lord's response through Isaiah, which is found in 2 Kings 20:
  • I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
  • I will heal you.
  • In 3 days from now you will get out of bed and go to the Temple.
  • I will add 15 years to your life.
  • I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria.
  • I will defend this city for my own honor and for the sake of my servant David.
Hezekiah had a poultice of figs placed upon his boil and it was healed, just as he was told.

Can we be encouraged by this with assurance that God hears our prayers and acts with mercy according to His will? To some He sends healing and to some death. Both life and death are in His hands. Do we have faith to accept His will for either? Meanwhile, are we serving God faithfully and single-mindedly?

LET IT GO

Keep the faith while I wait.

Pray for God's will and be prepared to accept yes and no.

Don't be hesitant to weep the tears to a compassionate God.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Laying It Down

O. T. #990  "Laying It Down"
May 26, 2017
2 Chronicles 32-Part 2
And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the hose of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. 2 Kings 19:14

LET IT GLOW

King Hezekiah of Judah stopped paying tribute to Assyria, though his father did it as a bribe for their help in battle, which did not come. Needless to say, King Sennacherib (Sin-act'-rib) of Assyria was not pleased. He invaded towns in Judah. But, Hezekiah made preparations to protect Jerusalem. He encouraged the men that the power that is far greater than Assyria's army was on their side and He would help them fight their battles.

Assyria's king sent insulting letters by messengers to Hezekiah, trying to terrifying him. When Hezekiah received the letter, what did he do? He went into the house of the Lord and spread the letter before his God. Hezekiah was a real man of prayer, McGee describes.

Liberty Bible Commentary explains Hezekiah's wonder prayer found in 2 Kings 19:14-19:
  1. He recognized God's sovereignty, having complete authority over what He had created. (verse 15)
  2. The pagan Sennacherib had defiled the living and sovereign God. (verse 16)
  3. Sennacherib had destroyed other nations and other gods; his claims only proved that pagan gods were not gods. (verses 17-18)
  4. Hezekiah requested that God save His people and show the world that Jehovah was the only God. (verse 19)
Lord God, may Your will be done in our lives. We acknowledge that only You are sovereignly in control over all things. Nothing catches You by surprise. You have solutions for our problems, diseases, trials, and troubles. We yield to Your will, Your way, today. Work in us so we bring You honor as You see us through this time.
In Jesus name I pray.


LET IT GROW

What was in the letter from the Assyrian king that caused King Hezekiah to be so distraught that he went into the Temple and spread this threatening letter before the Lord? (Not only was it sent to the king of Judah, but to the people, also.)
  • What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem?
  • Surely Hezekiah is misleading you, sentencing you to death by famine and thirst.
  • Don't you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the LORD's shrines and altars?
  • He commanded that Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar at the Temple and other sacrifices on it alone.
  • Surely you must realize what I and the other kings of Assyria before me have done to all the people of the earth. Were any of the gods of those nations able to rescue their people from my power? Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from  the destructive power of my predecessors?
  • What makes you think your God can rescue you from me?
  • Don't let Hezekiah deceive you! Don't let him fool you like this. I say again-no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!
  • Just as the gods of all the other nations failed to rescue their people from my power, so the God of Hezekiah will also fail. (New Living Translation)
King Sennacherib's officers mocked the LORD God and His servant Hezekiah, heaping insult upon insult. They shouted the message in Hebrew to the people gathered on the walls of the city, trying to terrify them so it would be easier to capture Jerusalem. They talked about the God of Jerusalem as though He were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands.

In 2 Kings 19, the Lord God answered this arrogant king of Assyria about his defiling God saying it went as He planned; he conquered because God allowed it; God knows Sennacherib well, where he stayed, and when he came and went; God s going to put His hook in this king's nose and His bit into his mouth, making Sennacherib return by the same road on which he came into Judah.

Wow! This Assyrian king challenged God. What a mistake. This man was not more powerful than God, nor is any man, no are we.

The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven's Armies made this happen-a remnant of God's people would spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mt. Zion.

This occurred since the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Survivors and the king of Assyria went home to Nineveh, their capital, after seeing the corpses everywhere. Twenty years later,  while Sennacherib was worshiping in the temple of his false god, his two sons killed him by their swords, the escaped to another land of Ararat.

Assyria was crushed in 612 B.C. and Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, became the world ruler.
(2 Kings 20:14)

Good prevails against the evil. God is always victorious. Do I hear an amen?
Hezekiah depended upon the Lord for help, and He delivered the city in a miraculous way.

LET IT GO
                     ... and let God.
                     ... and lay it down, my request, before my God.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Shield, Sword, and Strength

O. T. #989  "Shield, Sword, and Strength"
May 25, 2017
2 Chronicles 32
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:16-17

LET IT GLOW

King Hezekiah's faith in God remained strong. Although he lived in dangerous times faced powerful enemies, and confronted idolatry, this king chose to continue to worship and serve God. It takes courage to seek God when the forces of evil surround you. God will honor the heart that commits to follow Him (2 Chron. 6:5). God is pleased to prosper/honor those who strive to please Him rather than seek the approval of people (1 Samuel 2:30).

Before Hezekiah became king of Judah, his father Ahaz had been raided by the Philistines and Edomites, then turned to Assyria for help by giving them tribute from the Temple and shutting the doors of the Temple. King Ahaz turned to pagan idol worship instead of remaining faithful to God. When Hezekiah took over as king, he repaired the Temple and reestablished the sacrificial system and stopped paying tribute to Assyria. He determined to recover independence for his nation. (During this time, Israel's 10 northern tribes were taken captive by Assyria in 722 B.C.)

What was going on as a result of this refusal?
The Assyrian King Sennacherib retaliated, entered Judah ready to attack Jerusalem. He laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. (verse 1)

Hezekiah had a plan, which we will discuss. In the meantime, the king prayed to God and encouraged his people:
  • Be strong and courageous!
  • Don't be afraid of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side.
  • He may have a great army, but they are merely men.
  • We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!
  • Hezekiah's words greatly encouraged the people. (verses 7-8)
Did the devotion to the Lord keep Hezekiah from problems. No.

Obedience sometimes leads to greater testing, for our good and the glory of God. (Wiersbe)

It was the sinfulness and greediness of Assyria's king that brought him to the point of preparing to invade Judah. He worshiped idols, dead deities made by the hands of men, but Judah worshiped the One True Living God who is all-powerful.

Why should we be surprised when problems come our way in spite of our faithfulness to obey God?

Friends, I marvel at God's timing of words I hear in this study. My husband is facing some serious health issues right now. We have been waiting for improvement the last 6 months as the doctors adjusted and removed medications, but to no improvement. Now we are waiting for an appointment of  another test to give us answers to questions. Hopefully, next week we will hear the answers, but in the meantime, we are waiting with a shield of faith and sword of the Lord's Word.

God is the strength of my heart. My portion forever. Psalm 73:26b

LET IT GROW

What did Hezekiah do in preparation of an attack by Assyria?
  • He stopped the flow of the springs outside Jerusalem. This kept the Assyrian army from having a water supply since they camped there.
  • He repaired all the broken sections of the wall, erected towers, and built a second wall outside the first wall. Talk about support.
  • He enforced the supporting terraces.
  • He manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields.
  • He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square of the city gate.
  • Hezekiah sent officials to with the Assyrians.
Do we need to repair any walls in our life with faith? Our sword is the Word of God and our shield is faith.
This illustrates God giving plans of defense against the evil enemies. Dear ones, let us use God's Word against our enemy, Satan. He is out to destroy us and our witness but our only defense if Scriptures. Jesus used them when tempted in the wilderness and he overcame temptation, not sinning.

Just as God proved a mighty warrior for Jehoshaphat, so He proved Himself again with Hezekiah. (David Jeremiah)

Next time we will discuss how the Assyrian's words tried to discourage the people of Judah and if they were successful.

LET IT GO

Stay in God's Word, sharpening my sword and using it against evil.

Ask God to fight my battles.

Keep my shield of faith always before me, stopping the darts of discouragement.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Following

O. T. #988  "Following"
May 24, 2017
2 Chronicles 31-Part 2


LET IT GLOW

King Hezekiah reopened the Temple, reestablished the sacrificial system, and removed the pagan idols in Jerusalem and Judah. Some Israelites joined them in the Passover celebration, which lasted 14 days instead of 7 days. The priests and Levis were active in their duties. There was great joy in the city. Hezekiah required the people of Jerusalem to bring their tithe with a portion of their goods. They were so faithful in doing so that the storerooms in the Temple were overflowing. There was so much that they distributed gifts and food allotments to the families of the priests.
As King Hezekiah handled the distribution throughout all Judah, as details are mentioned in this chapter, doing so pleased the LORD and was good in the sight of his God. This king did what was good, right, and true before the LORD.

What was the last thing we did for another that could be considered good, right, true?
I helped an elderly lady fix her plate of food, carried it to her table, and afterwards put it in the trash. It was the first time I had met this elderly lady, but she had no one helping her and I was glad to do so. Opportunities to serve will come our way if we have our servant eyes and ears open. Do it for the glory of God and we will receive a blessing.

LET IT GROW

I couldn't wrap up this chapter without mentioning verse 21: In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God's laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.

We read of the results of the king's faithfulness to God, how he was rewarded by God, and how he prospered.

Hezekiah clung tightly to the Lord, faithfully following Him and obeying His commands. As a result, the Lord was with him and gave him success. He relied on the Lord as his exclusive hope in every situation. (MacArthur)

His is an example of intensity and urgency for believers everywhere: to follow what God has commanded with devotion. (David Jeremiah)

Are we following God's commands? Are loving Him with wholeheartedly? Are we loving our neighbor as our self?

LET IT GO

Love God wholeheartedly.

Serve Him with faithful devotion.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What is Faith?

O. T. #987  "What is Faith?"
May 23, 2017
2 Chronicles 31


LET IT GLOW

After the Temple was reopened, cleansed, and reformed in Jerusalem and Judah, the priests and Levites were reestablished in their positions as spiritual leaders in worship of God. Many Israelites came to join in the observance of the Passover Feast with Judah. The revival through King Hezekiah spread, resulting in pagan shrines and altars, as well as Asherah poles being removed. We must be careful that we do not allow material possessions, wealth, pleasure, prestige to be in ou thoughts more than God. Then they become an idol to us.

Hezzekiah did that which was good, right, and truth before the Lord his God. He was a man of faith and prayer.

J. Vernon McGee had this to say about faith:
  • Faith is not in the feelings; it is an accomplished fact.
  • Faith is that which is wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.
  • Faith is no self-meritorious. 
  • Faith is only the instrument, Christ is the Savior and He is the object of faith.
  • True faith "brings nothing so that I may take all."
  • Faith trusts God.

When Peter made his great confession of faith in Jesus, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus said the Father revealed it to him, not flesh ad blood. (Matthew 16:16-17)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

Lord, I believe: help Thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

Have you ever put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior? Will you believe that He died in your place, paying for your sins? He arose from the grave to be your living Redeemer, not just a man. He gives us faith to believe. Will you ask Him to forgive you of your sins and be your Savior, right now?

If you already have, I rejoice. Now we should ask others those questions.
Are we trusting God with everything in your life?
Are we walking by faith today?

LET IT GROW

We see the results of reformation in Judah as they brought such an abundance of their tithe. The priests had not been supported by the government during the evil kings' reign. As the people gave a tenth of their income to the priests and Levites, that freed those men to serve God and minister to the people. The people responded generously and immediately. Are we regularly giving 10% to God through the church?

After we are saved by Lord Jesus, the reformation comes in our life, as we walk by faith. He will change our life, if we let Him. If Christ has forgiven our sins, we walk away from our old life and old sins, just as the sick man with palsy (Luke 5). If we do not walk away from our sinful lifestyle, we are still paralyzed with sin.

Life Application Study Bible informs us of ways Hezekiah led the people in  spiritual renewal:
  1. He remembered God's compassion. (verse 9)
  2. He kept going despite ridicule. (verse 10)
  3. He aggressively removed evil forces in his life. (verse 14)
  4. He interceded for the people, asking for the Lord's pardon. (verse 15-20)
  5. He was open to spontaneity in worship. (verse 23)
  6. He contributed generously to God's work. (31:3)
Are any of theses lacking in our life?
If so, we should recommit to God our all.

LET IT GO

Do what is good, right, and truth before God.

Keep the faith, in spite of ridicule.

Intercede for people.

Be open to worshiping in spontaneity.

Give generously to God's work.

Trust God for faith to walk by faith; keep walking.