2 Kings 9:14-10:31 ~ Acts 17:1-34 ~ Psalm 144:1-15 ~ Proverbs 17:27-28
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Old Testament - Well... Jehu kills a lot of people in today's readings. I realize that the violence in the Old Testament can often bring up a lot of questions. Rather than me diving into why there is violence in the Bible - I'll defer to a couple of theologians at this link and at this link - and I'll give you 3 images below from a very young theologian. :) Unfortunately, our human history is full of violence - from Cain and Abel until this very day. The Bible does record human history. There will come a day where there is a new heaven and a new earth, free from violence. That day has not come yet - but will with Jesus' Second Coming.
Most Biblical commentaries agree that Jehu was carrying out justice for the sins of the Kings of Israel and the worship of Baal. Jezebel's death was predicted by the prophet Elijah because of her sins. A brutal death that it was. I think one thing for us to keep in mind is that sin does bring death. As Paul teaches in Romans 6:23 - "The wages of sin is death." Jesus saves us from this deserved death when we come to him in faith and surrender our lives to him. But, let us not forget the severity and risk of sin and the risk of not being in relationship with Jesus. Without Jesus saving us, the wages of sin truly is eternal death.
2 Kings 10 verses 25-27 seem to demonstrate Jehu's initial apparent zeal for God - "Then Jehu's men went into the fortress of the temple of Baal. They dragged out the sacred pillar used in the worship of Baal and destroyed it. They broke down the sacred pillar of Baal and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet. That is what it is used for to this day." But we soon learn in verse 31 - "But Jehu did not obey the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He refused to turn from the sins of idolatry that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit." It is thus thought that Jehu's action of destroying the idols of Baal was more political than spiritual - as Baal worship was associated with the dynasty of Ahab, whereas the golden calves had a longer history in the northern kingdom of Israel and were valued by most people. And keeping the golden calves would keep people from Israel traveling to the southern kingdom of Judah to worship God in Jerusalem. Below is an image of a series of images from the life of Jehu:
New Testament - Great reading about Paul's travels and preaching in Acts 17 today!
I absolutely love the quote in verse 6 where the Jewish leaders of Thessalonica say: ""Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city," they shouted." Have you ever heard that the Kingdom of God is an "upside down" kingdom? That the values of the Kingdom of God are upside down compared to worldly values? Paul and Silas turned the world upside down. How are you turning the world upside down in your life today?
Today in Acts 17 verses 22 & 23 we read - “Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” Paul then went on to introduce to the Greeks our personal Creator, in contrast with their views of pantheistic Stoicism. Are there people in your life today that are perhaps like the Greeks Paul was speaking to? People who are religious but do not yet know our personal Creator? Are there people in your life who are seeking the Unknown God? Will you begin conversations with these people that God has placed in your life and let them know about the living God that you know and love? Will you let them know, as Paul let the Greeks know in verse 28 – “For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'”? The altar in the image below is located on Palatine Hill, Rome, where once stood the palaces of the Caesars. It dates from about 100 B.C. and has the inscription, ´To the unknown God.' This could have been a similar altar to the one that Paul was referring to in today's readings in Athens:
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "The Evangelization of Thessalonica and Berea" is at this link and "The Apostle in Athens, Preaching to Philosophers" is at this link. Below is a painting from the year 1515 by the Italian artist Raphael titled "St. Paul preaching in Athens":
Psalms - Psalm 144 verses 3 & 4 are well known! "O LORD, what are mortals that you should notice us, mere humans that you should care for us? For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow." If our days are like a passing shadow, how then should we be spending our days? What types of things should we be investing our time & money into? What should we be investing our very hearts and minds into? Are you wisely spending your passing days in godly ways?
Proverbs - Proverbs 17:27 is so true - "A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered." And with this I will quietly close out today's posting with few words. :)
YouTube: Today's Psalm reminded me of Chris Tomlin and Israel Houghton's live version of the song "Friend of God:"
Are you a friend of God? Click here to meet your Friend!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!