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One thing that's pretty cool is that Sosthenes (the synagogue ruler that got beat up by the Jews) must have become a Christian because he is named/listed with Paul as one of the writers to the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 1:1. God used Paul to convert not just 1 but 2 synagogue rulers!

2 Kings 10:32-12:21

Random thoughts or things that make me go, “Hmmm.”

Jehu: One can carry out the will of God, operate in obedience to God’s directions and command and still turn their backs on God. Activity and movement without momentum does not that someone is righteous. WE must wait around for the fruit to appear and then inspect it.

Athaliah: Many a time I get this strong unction that, the devil does his best recruiting on the “church bench.” Yet here we see that the best place to hide the future king was in the Temple. Athaliah never thought to look there because no one every whet there to worship anymore or she just had this “thing” about going inside the House of the Lord.
I also see from her that we have the propensity to demand of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves. Athaliah cried, “Treason,” when she saw Josiah being crowned king, yet she had treasonously killed off ever heir to the thrown, except Josiah seven years before. We cannot demand from others what we are unwilling to do ourselves. We become hypocrites.

The clergy of yesteryear had as much trouble keeping their hands out of the cookie jar as they do today. It was the “working class/blue collar” man that dealt honestly with the monies given to them to repair the Temple. The priests in charge of the collection could not be trusted to “take some of the money to repair the temple,” (II Kings 12:5). No matter what we think the preacher is or is not doing with the collection box, we are suppose to do what God tells us to do, give and do the work of the ministry.

Corinth

Some elaboration:

Corinth was a major city of the Roman Empire, at an important crossroads of trade and travel; it was also a city notorious for its hedonism and immorality.

i. Even in Paul’s day, Corinth was an ancient city. It was a commercial center with two harbors and a long rival to its northern neighbor, Athens. Corinth was a city with a remarkable reputation for loose living and especially sexual immorality. In classical Greek, to act like a Corinthian was to practice fornication, and a Corinthian companion was a prostitute. This sexual immorality was permitted under the extremely prevalent worship of Aphrodite (also known as Venus, the goddess of fertility and sexuality). In 146 BC, Corinth rebelled against Rome and was brutally destroyed by Roman armies. It lay in ruins for a century, until Julius Caesar rebuilt the city, and it quickly re-established its former position as a center for both trade and immorality of every sort.

ii. “It is significant that it was from this city that Paul wrote his Roman letter; and when one reads his description of Gentile corruption in that Roman letter, one has almost certainly a mirror of what he found in Corinth. (Romans 1:22-32)” (Morgan)

iii. One ancient writer described Corinth as a town where “none but the tough could survive.”

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4418.htm

Corinth in Paul's day was a large and prosperous commercial city, one of the leading cities in Greece. It owed prosperity not only to the trade that flowed through it, but to several other factors as well. Corinth hosted the biennial Isthmian Games, which drew large crowds to the city. It a had the coveted status of a Roman colony and was the capital of the main province of Achaia (which is why the city's unbelieving Jews were able to bring Paul before the Roman governor, Gallio; Acts 18:12-17). Corinthian brass and pottery wares were famous throughout the Roman world.

But Corinth also had its dark side. A sizeable percentage of its population consisted of slaves, and it was a center of the slave trade. Corinth was such an immoral city that its name became a byword for sexual vice; the verb "to Corinthianize" meant to commit sexual immorality, and 'Corinthian girl" became a slang term for a prostitute.
http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/sf-2cor.htm

The Corinth of Paul's day was relatively new. The old Corinth (which
was famous and powerful in the days of the Peloponnesian War) was
burned in 146 B.C. by the Roman proconsul, L. Mummius. Because it was
a city devoted to the gods, a hundred years were required to pass
before the city could be rebuilt. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar rebuilt
the city, populated it with a colony of veterans and freedmen, and
named it Julia Corinthus. It soon became a very important commercial
center.

With a population of 400,000 and being a prominent center of commerce
in the Mediterranean world, it was a place for all sorts of vice. An
example of its immorality was found in the temple of Venus (Aphrodite),
which hosted 1000 priestesses dedicated to prostitution in the name of
religion. The city's close proximity to the city of Athens probably
added the problem of intellectualism. As noticed in the epistle, such
an environment had its effect upon the church in Corinth. It is
amazing that a church existed at all in such a city.

http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/1co/1co_00.htm

Acts 18:9-10

"Afraid" and "Speak" are in the "present imperative" - a command. Can be translated as below:

And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; -NASB

Now the Lord appears to him at night again, with a threefold command attached to a threefold promise, all expressed in biblical language (Deut 31:6; Josh 1:5; Is 41:10; 43:5; Jer 1:7-9):

Do not be afraid (literally, "Stop being afraid")/I am with you

Keep on speaking/No one is going to attack and harm you

Do not be (literally, "become") silent/Because I have many people in this city

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=5&source=1&seq=i.51.18.1

Apparently Paul was afraid - maybe as Bob said because success in preaching to Gentiles may intensify opposition. Maybe because Corinth was "such a tough town". Regardless the Lord gave Paul assurance that he would not be physically harmed. At this time it must be that Paul needed this to be a fearless and tireless preacher of the "Word".

Neat to know that the field is "white" for harvest, that hearts were softened, and people would be receptive to Paul's message. Whatever one's belief in "election" is, the verb construct is "present indicative" saying, 'I have (ongoing)many people.'

As before time when God knows the very number of the hairs on our head, God knows His people - and provides for them. In Corinth at this time - Paul is that provision.
======================================================
Gallio sets Precedent

In approaching the proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth are trying to stop Paul not only in Corinth, but also in the entire province (Achaia).

i. “If Gallio had accepted the Jewish charge and found Paul guilty of the alleged offense, provincial governors everywhere would have had a precedent, and Paul’s ministry would have been severely restricted. As it was, Gallio’s refusal to act in the matter was tantamount to the recognition of Christianity as a "religio licita” (Longenecker)

religio licita: Latin for "legal religion"

Julius Caser accorded this status (religio licita) to Judaism, and it is more than likely that Gallio - as other Romans (in government) thought - considered Christianity a branch of Judaism.

Around 60 A.D. this staus for Christianity changed as Rome realized it was a distinct religion from Judaism. Chrisitianity became an "illegal religion" and the persecutions started and grew in intensity.

Interesting how God works:

1) as a dispersed nation it was important For Judaism to have this protection - without it, it is doubtful the people or religion would have survived.

2) God took the church's biggest persecutor (Paul) and made him one of the early church's greatest evangelists. Avoiding elimination and ensuring growth.

3) Christianity's early status as a "legal religion" protected it from persecution (elimination) until a time where it had grown past "critical mass" (such a size that it would be impossible to eliminate).

oops -

The "legal religion" status was a Roman thing. It did not keep the Jews from trying to stop growth or from persecuting Christians.

And if Rome got involved it would be because of alleged "civil unrest", rebellion or something of that ilk.

While incidents of that did occur with Roman officials getting invovled - they were sporadic. It was not until the persecutions of (around) 60 A.D. and on - that persecution became widespread.

2Kings

Jehu

Twenty-eight years: This was a long reign, but notable only at its beginning. Jehu had the energy and influence to truly turn the nation back to God, but his half-commitment to God left that potential unfulfilled and points to a lack of any real relationship with God.

i. “We have no chronicles in which there is any thing farther spoken of this bad man. His reign was long, twenty-eight years; and yet we know nothing of it but the commencement.” (Clarke)

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1210.htm

But Jehosheba: This little-known woman had an important place in God’s plan of the ages. Through her courage and ingenuity, she preserved the royal line of David through which the Messiah would come. Evil people like Athaliah will begin their work, but God can always raise up a Jehosheba.

[Note: How many times do we see insignificant "players" play significant roles in God's plan.]

Joash

a. He brought out the king’s son: First the king’s son had to be revealed. No one could support him and he could not take his rightful throne until he was brought out before the people.

b. Put the crown on him: Next the king’s son had to be crowned. This was the public and official recognition of him as king.

c. And gave him the Testimony: The king’s son had to come with the Word of God. Joash appeared before the people holding the scrolls of God’s Word.

i. Deuteronomy 17:18 says that the king should have his own copy of the Scriptures. “This is the basis for the British custom of presenting the monarch with a copy of the Bible during the coronation service.” (Wiseman)

And all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down:

One reason the people resented this worship of Baal in Jerusalem so much was because according to 2 Chronicles 24:7, Athaliah had directed that sacred objects from the temple of the Lord be put into the temple of Baal: For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God, and had also presented all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord to the Baals.

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1211.htm

But Joash king of Judah took all the sacred objects dedicated by his fathers—Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, the kings of Judah—and the gifts he himself had dedicated and all the gold found in the treasuries of the temple of the LORD and of the royal palace, and he sent them to Hazael king of Aram, who then withdrew from Jerusalem. NIV

[Note: Once again a king in Israel (Judah here) did not go to God or trust in God, but thought he could buy safety (foreshadowing salvation???) with earthly treasures.]

There is no record of repentance on Joash’s part. He never came back to or fulfilled his bright early promise.....His servants arose and formed a conspiracy, and killed Joash: This is startling, and shows that the blessing of God long before vanished from the compromised king who began so well, but failed to finish well.
http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1212.htm

joash looks a bit like a hobbit...

but the fellowship of the ring is also about community as the proverbs verse suggests. why is it that we all know deep down that community and preferring others needs is the path to happiness, yet continually do the opposite! it can't be as simple as original sin, can it? i think we must just be bad learners...

rob

II Kings 10:32-12:21
Two things really caught my eye in today’s readings.

1) How quick we are to call others out on a perceived sin when we are in sin ourselves. Athaliah, Joash’s grandmother, who had all of his brothers killed when her son Ahaziah died so she could be large-and-in-charge, didn’t recognize her own BIG shortcomings. But then again she was the daughter of King Ahab of Israel so she learned her lessons well. Calling out “Treason! Treason!” when she realized the grandson she didn’t kill was being anointed King of Israel seeing that she was a “serial” killer herself, hmmm! So much for family values.

2) The first two verses of the twelth chapter absolutely floored me,
1Joash began to rule over Judah in the seventh year of King Jehu's reign in Israel. He reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah, from Beersheba. 2 All his life Joash did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
In other translations, it makes clear that as long as the priest Jehoiada was living and instructing Joash, the King did what was pleasing in the Lords’ sight.

I have had this argument or debate going on inside of me for sometime and it is about self-control and boundaries placed on and in oneself because of self-restraint and not because of external controls and restraints. When external controls are removed and the person has not developed any internal controls, they will go hog wild, something I see all the time in my place of employment, a College. When not too few students are touring the school with their parents they look like little angels, but when the semester begins and they are dropped off on their own, well …! What happened to the spiritual quidence of Jehoiada?

When Josah relied on the strength of a bribe, the handing over the sacred objects three kings before him had amassed to quell the passion of King Hazael, instead of relying on God to being Judiah’s strong tower, was Jehoiada dead? Was his assassination by his trusted advisers triggered by angry reactions from what he had given to the enemy? These are all rhetorical questions.

Acts 18:1-22
12 But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose in concerted action against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment.

This reminds me of a comment made about the devil waiting for a more opportune time to tempt Jesus after His wilderness experience. It seems the Jews were waiting for the right political climate to pounce on Paul. Goes to show the more things change the more they stay the same. The Devil never sleeps he is just waiting for a door to open.
Luke 4 13 When the Devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

Psalm 145:1-21

This is a great Psalm to use in studying God’s attributes and to remind and rehearse within your hearing the character of God.

Proverbs 18:1

1 A recluse is self-indulgent, snarling at every sound principle of conduct.

Couldn’t John the Baptist be considered a recluse? I’m not sure if the recluse that comes to mind in our thinking is the same recluse mentioned in this verse. David, before he became king, while he was still a shepherd boy in his father’s house could be considered isolated ‘cause he was hanging out with the sheep.

This verse from the Amplified Bible,
1HE WHO willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment.

Psalm 145:18-19
"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
"He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them."

I absolutely love this psalm! What a comfort and promise this is. To know that God hears us and is near every time we call Him in truth. He fill give us our desires as long as we fear Him.

It comes to mind the times that people use God's name in vain. That really bothers me. It is offensive to my spirit. There are times that I might be waiting in a line at a store and I hear behind me people cursing and using Gods name with curse words. I would like to say to them: "What does God have to do with this? This is man's doing...not God's"

It is incredible how so many people like to blame God for things that are caused by man. I must say this is one of my pet peeves. It is frustrating to hear and see.
It takes allot of patience not to insult those people.

But God says we must re frame from violence. Even though lately the Bible readings we have been studying are very violent indeed. I thank God that we are in the dispensation of grace.
It seems like in those days everything was "an eye for an eye... and... a tooth for a tooth."

Now there are rules in society that condone violence.... which were based on the 10 commandments.

We can see in scripture that before Jesus came...life had very little value. After Jesus...life is respected and preserved more than before. Jesus gave us a perfect example.
I believe..because of Him now...women have a better place in society. We see how He valued women. After all, they were the first ones to see Him after His resurrection.:-)
To all...have a great day! Let us today make an effort to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!

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