~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Kings 18:13-19:37 ~ Acts 21:1-17
Psalm 149:1-9 ~ Proverbs 18:8
Old Testament - Well, it was bound to happen. Assyria conquered Israel. They were bound to go after Judah / Jerusalem soon enough. Tough to stop an ego / power like that. It's "never enough". So, we get the bold boasts before the walls of Jerusalem by King Sennacherib of Assyria's representatives in 2 Kings 18. Verse 35 includes this boast, which didn't make God too happy - "What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? Name just one! So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem?"
Very cool that in 2 Kings 19 Hezekiah takes all of this to God in prayer. Good move! How often in our lives today, when challenges come our way, do we take the challenges everywhere else BUT to God? Wouldn't it be easier to take them directly to God? Why do we turn to alcohol or drugs or food or worrying or whatever - can we simply take our challenges to the one true living God who can actually do something with them? Can we model what Hezekiah did when he received distressing news from the King of Assyria, in verses 14 through 16 - "After Hezekiah received the letter and read it, he went up to the LORD's Temple and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD: "O LORD, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Listen to me, O LORD, and hear! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib's words of defiance against the living God."
New Testament - Wow. Check out Paul's words in Acts 21 verse 13 after it was prophesied that he would be jailed in Jerusalem - "But Paul said, "Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus."" What about you? Are you ready to be jailed for your faith? Are you willing to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus? These are challenging questions to consider I realize. But, I think they are useful for us to ask. If we are not ready to be jailed for our faith or not willing to die for the sake of Jesus, are we truly following Jesus? Or are we just pretending?
Paul's arrival in Jerusalem wraps up his 3rd missionary journey. Below is a quick recap of this journey of Paul's we've been reading about the past couple of days:
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "The Giving and Taking of Advice" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 149 is a beautiful song of praise today! Verse 3 I love - "Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp." Do you praise God's name with dancing and music? Yes, I confess, I am a huge fan of the praise and worship thing going on in churches and with CCM artists and their concerts these days. I know this is not the only way to praise or worship God by any means. Are you praising God's name each day with the very "dance" of your life?
Proverbs - Please note that Proverbs 18 verse 8 is not advocating spreading rumors! :) "What dainty morsels rumors are--but they sink deep into one's heart." So true... rumors may seem like "dainty morsels" at first... but if you buy into receiving them and spreading them, they will infect your very heart!
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!