~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Kings 17:1-18:12 ~ Acts 20:1-38
Psalm 148:1-14 ~ Proverbs 18:6-7
HALF-WAY - Big news! We cross the halfway threshold in our One Year Bible readings today! Whoo-hoo! Yep, June 30th marks the end of our first 6 months of readings and July 1st marks the beginning of our last 6 months of readings. Congratulations!
If by chance you’ve stopped reading the One Year Bible at some point this past six months, how about starting back up with us again as we embark on our final six months? We’d love to have you on the journey with us once again! Let's go!
Old Testament - 2 Kings 17 is a HUGE and very sad chapter today! This is a huge chapter because it is the end of the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel is invaded by Assyria and its people are exiled. It is so sad because the Israelites could have avoided this strife - but the chose to follow in the sins of Jeroboam and worship other gods. After much patience and many second chances by the true and living God, Israel was allowed to be invaded & exiled for their disobedience. Sad stuff. You can learn more of the history of how this all transpired at this link. An overview map of the Assyrian empire at this time is below -
In 2 Kings 17 verse 41 we will read this about the foreigners in Israel – “Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols.” If the foreigners both worshiped God AND served idols at the same time back then, do you suppose that we can fall into this same trap today? What would some examples be today of both worshiping God and serving idols at the same time? Are there any areas of your life where you might be serving idols? Will you allow those idols to be turned over to God for his healing and transformation of you? Will you worship God only? Will you leave the idols behind? Why would this be important to leave the idols behind? What is the risk of not leaving the idols behind? Or, should I say, what is the danger of not leaving the idols behind...
Verse 15 stands out and follows along in this paragraph & photo above - "They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves." How true is that? Maybe another way to look at it - you are what you worship! (like you are what you eat...) If we worship worthless idols, we become worthless ourselves. If we worship the true living God, we become more like his son Jesus. Would you rather be worthless or becoming like Jesus in this lifetime? And how about after this lifetime? So, who or what are you worshiping these days?
In 2 Kings 18 we are introduced to King Hezekiah of Judah! This is a HUGE and great day for the southern kingdom of Judah. Check out verses 5 through 7 for an overview of who Hezekiah was - "Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was never another king like him in the land of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses. So the LORD was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did." Below is a coloured woodcut from Henry VIII´s Great Bible, from the year 1538, of King Hezekiah burning idols -
New Testament - Acts 20 verse 7 is a great look at an early church service! "On the first day of the week, we gathered to observe the Lord's Supper. Paul was preaching; and since he was leaving the next day, he talked until midnight." Paul preached until midnight? That had to have been one great sermon I am sure!
Well, and yes, Paul raised to life a young man named Eutychus who fell from the windowsill during his sermon if you didn't notice! Wow... that's amazing. I honestly think I've kind of flown by this little tidbit before. Paul raised Eutychus from the dead!
Okay, later in the readings Paul gives an amazing farewell address to the elders of the church in Ephesus. Great stuff... Verses 36 & 37 do kind of bring a tear to the eye, no? - "When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They wept aloud as they embraced him in farewell, 38sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they accompanied him down to the ship."
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "Paul's Parting Words" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 148 is a call for all creation to praise God! I love it. As I was reading this Psalm I was reminded of a song that we sometimes sing in church that goes something like - "Let everything that. Let everything that. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" I love how the Psalms can stir up worship songs in our minds!
We read this in verse 5 - "Let every created thing give praise to the LORD, for he issued his command, and they came into being." Do you agree with this verse? That you came into being because the Lord commanded it? Do you give thanks to God frequently? And joyfully? Even in the midst of maybe some challenging times in your life, can you still give praise to your Creator?
Proverbs - Proverbs 18:7 today teaches: "The mouths of fools are their ruin; their lips get them into trouble." As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm sure all of us probably can think of someone else we think this Proverb really applies to... :) And yet, again, perhaps should we think about ourselves when it comes to this Proverb? How is the condition of your mouth these days? Is it bringing peace, joy, love, teaching, truth, encouragement to others? Or is it bringing talk about you, yourself, and you all of the time... and worse, bringing talk of hate, judgment and ultimately ruin? Let us examine the words that come out of our mouths each and every day! Let our mouth be a fountain of life and love for those around us!
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!