~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Kings 22:3-23:30~ Acts 21:37-22:16
Psalm 1:1-6 ~ Proverbs 18:11-12
Old Testament - Wow... I thought today's readings in Second Kings are some of the best readings we've had in a while! King Josiah cleaned up house for God! He went to town on all the idols, pagan altars and high places. Unfortunately, as we'll see in tomorrow's readings, the southern kingdom of Judah is about to meet a similar fate as the northern kingdom of Israel did in recent days readings. But King Josiah goes down with a fight for the Lord in today's readings! I wonder about this in our lives today - are we willing to fight for the Lord and his values in the way that Josiah did today? Or, perhaps "fight" isn't quite the right word, as Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek.... but, then, considering this, should we simply be meek and mild and not fight for things of the Lord? I don't think Jesus modeled this entirely either. Jesus turned over some tables in the Temple and turned over some ideas about God during His life... What can we learn about a zeal for God from Josiah and Jesus' lives? Please post up your thoughts in the Comments section below. Below is an image of King Josiah and his men destroying a pagan altar from today's readings:
2 Kings 22 verse 8 reminds me of the old adage - "Dusty Bibles lead to dirty lives..." :) - "Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, "I have found the Book of the Law in the LORD's Temple!" Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it." That is amazing to think about - that finding the Book of the Law in the Lord's Temple was a big find! Most commentaries suggest that the scroll was either the entire Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) or possibly just Deuteronomy. Imagine if you will that the Bible was "forgotten" about for generations and then finally discovered today!
King Josiah's words in verse 13 are wonderful repentful words - "Go to the Temple and speak to the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah. Ask him about the words written in this scroll that has been found. The LORD's anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing what this scroll says we must do." Have you ever had ah-ha experiences like this in your life? Where you realize finally what God wants you to do - and you realize that you have not been doing it? Well, fortunately God is a God that Psalm 145 verse 8 tells us, "is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love." There is room for repentance with God! When you have these ah-ha moments like King Josiah did, will you turn in repentance and humble yourself before God?
2 Kings 23 verses 1 through 3 demonstrate true leadership from King Josiah! "Then the king summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the LORD with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and the priests, and the prophets--all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the LORD's Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD's presence. He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, regulations, and laws with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant." Below is Josiah renewing the covenant:
New Testament - We get some classic Paul in today's Acts readings! You'll recall from yesterday's readings, the crowd in Jerusalem got riled up against Paul and the crowd was beating on Paul. Then, some Roman soldiers come to try to keep the peace and end up arresting Paul and putting him in chains. But what does Paul do? Go quietly into that good night? No way! He speaks to the Roman commander in Greek - which surprises the commander. (It is thought that Paul spoke 4 languages - Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew & Latin) And then he speaks to the crowd in Aramaic. The crowd that was just beating on him! He turns around and speaks with Love and Truth. So amazing... What do you think you or I would do in this type of situation today? Could we continue to speak Love and Truth to people that were just beating on us? I am not so sure that I could... I pray that I could! I pray that I would... Below is an oil on canvas painting by the Spanish painter El Greco from the year 1614 of "St. Paul":
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "Paul's Defense to the Jews in Jerusalem" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 1 kicks off the 150 Psalms of the Psalter again! You'll note that in the One Year Bible we actually read through the Psalms twice during the course of the year. I think this is good because the Psalms have taken some time to really sink in for me, personally. Once they sink in, they are phenomenal. I have a great friend who has shared with me that she "Prays the Psalms" every morning. I pray that during the course of this year you will have the experience of Praying the Psalms as you go through the One Year Bible. I do believe praying the Psalms can indeed renew our passion for God -
It is often said that in 65 of the books of the Bible God speaks to us, but in the Psalter, the book of Psalms, we have the opportunity to speak to God. And in all kinds of ways and with all kinds of emotions. The Psalms can help you learn to express in pray everything to God – what you are happy about and what is troubling you. The Psalms are religious poetry. The 150 Psalms are comprised of Laments, Confessions, Crys, Petitions, Praise, Reflection, Reports, History, Blessings, and Wisdom. The author of many of the Psalms was King David. The Psalms were compiled over centuries and reached this final form in approximately the third century B.C. The Psalms were prayed in the temple and have been prayed in churches for the past two thousand years. The Psalms were quoted by Jesus, including Psalm 22:1 when Jesus was on the cross – ""My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"" (see Matthew 27:46) It is thought that the book of Psalms is one of the two books of the Old Testament most frequently quotes in the New Testament – along with the book of Isaiah. See more commentary of the Psalms online at bible.org at this link. Martin Luther said this about the book of Psalms – "The Psalter is the favorite book of all the saints.… [Each person], whatever his circumstances may be, finds in [the book] psalms and words which are appropriate to the circumstances in which he finds himself and meet his needs as adequately as if they were composed exclusively for his sake, and in such a way that he himself could not improve on them nor find or desire any better psalms or words."
Today we read this reflection on the godly in Psalm 1 verse 2 - "But they delight in doing everything the LORD wants; day and night they think about his law." How well does this verse ring true with your life today? Do you delight in being obedient to God? Do you think about God's Word, the Bible, day and night? Should you? Will you?
Proverbs - Proverbs 18 verse 12 is one of the wisest Proverbs around in my opinion - "Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor." The Message puts it this way - "Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor." Pride is such a deadly condition... I pray that we ask God for humility very often. Maybe daily? Maybe hourly?
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!