~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Kings 20:1-22:2 ~ Acts 21:18-36
Psalm 150:1-6 ~ Proverbs 18:9-10
Old Testament – In 2 Kings 20 today we read about Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery. The thing that stood out to me in these passages is that after Hezekiah heard from Isaiah that he was going to die, Hezekiah did not just wallow in sorrow and let what was supposed to happen, happen. No! What does Hezekiah do? He prays to the living God! This is convicting and encouraging for me. I am afraid that sometimes I will just wallow in my sorrow over a situation, when I should be praying about the situation to God! If we don’t take it to God in prayer, how can God really help us? I know that oftentimes God does show amazing mercy to us and do things for us when we do not pray. But, why don’t we pray to God in times of sorrow? How about you – when sorrow comes to your doorstep, do you take the situation to God in prayer?
Below is an image of Isaiah warning Hezekiah of his impending death in verse 1 – and Hezekiah praying!
Hezekiah later in this chapter receives envoys from Babylon. Unfortunately, he is a bit too hospitable with these envoys. He believes showing off his wealth will prove that he has worldly power and that the Babylonians will respect him and Judah. Isaiah sees that Hezekiah is relying on worldly wealth and not God, and Isaiah delivers a word from God that Judahwill be exiled to Babylon Indeed, this comes true in 115 years from when Isaiah delivers this word in this chapter. We will read more about the Babylonian exile later in this year’s One Year Bible readings. How about us, in our lives today – do we try to impress people with our worldly wealth or toys or stuff, like Hezekiah was trying to impress the Babylonians? And further, do we actually try to rely on this worldly stuff rather than rely on God?
New Testament – Wow… tough week for Paul in today’s readings. Scary how the readings end today – with the mob chanting “Kill Him! Kill Him!” Does this remind you of anyone else? Perhaps Paul’s Savior?
You might be asking why did Paul agree to take part in the Jewish purification ceremony in today’s readings? I think you’ll find the answer to this question in Paul’s own words from his first letter to the Corinthians, verses 19 through 23 – “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” How about you in your life today? Do you make yourself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible? Do you become all things to all people so that by all possible means you might save some?
Below is an image of the Apostle Paul, by Rembrandt, from 1657 –
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "The Giving and Taking of Advice" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 150 is a wonderful end to the Psalter filled with a call to Praise God with all that we are. Give it up for God and God only! :)
Proverbs – Today we read one of my favorite Proverbs - Proverbs 18 verse 10 – “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Do you believe that the name Jesus is a strong tower that can keep us safe? I honestly do. I actually went through a period of nightmares several years ago – and somehow, in those nightmares, I began to call out the name “Jesus” in my sleep, and the nightmares ended instantly! Seriously. It was incredible. Whenever a nightmare began, I was able to call upon Jesus’ name and they kept ending right away. Ever since then I have come to realize how incredibly powerful the name of Jesus truly is. Do you believe that the name of Jesus is a strong tower? Will you run to Jesus for safety in times of trouble? Will you call upon the name of Jesus in your hour of need?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!