2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27 ~ Romans 13:1-14 ~ Psalm 23:1-6 ~ Proverbs 20:11
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Old Testament - Today in Second Chronicles chapter 26 we read about Uzziah ruling in Judah - along with his sin and punishment. Uzziah, like other kings of Judah we've read about recently honored God in his early years, but then fell away in his later years. Sad! I pray that none of us fall into the trap of honoring God now and then dishonoring him later in our lives. How do you suppose we can avoid this trap? I think one of the key things is to read the Bible daily. But I also am realizing more and more that we need to be in community with other Christians consistently. Yes, church every weekend. But more than that - small groups, Bible studies, accountability groups, etc. We need to encourage and challenge each other in community to continue running our race strong! Are you in consistent community with other Christians in your life today? If not, will you consider joining a small group or Bible study at your church? If you're not going to church, will you start going to church this weekend? Do you see the danger of not being in community with other Christians, and ending up perhaps like some of the kings of Judah who dishonored God later in their lives? Please, please, please - be in a consistent community with other Christians! Below is an oil painting by Rembrandt titled "The King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy" from the year 1635:
Today in Second Chronicles chapter 28 we read about King Ahaz of Judah. You will note that the reign of Ahab is the only reign in which the Chronicler does not mention a single redeeming feature... Things are obviously getting worse for the southern Kingdom of Judah! A very interesting thing happens in verses 9 through 15 where we are introduced to the prophet Obed in Samaria, and the northern captors show kindness to their captives from Judah. In fact, some scholars believe that verses 14 & 15 may even be the background for Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan!! This is very powerful to consider! Do you see how these 2 verses could be background for Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan? "So the warriors released the prisoners and handed over the plunder in the sight of all the leaders and people. Then the four men mentioned by name came forward and distributed clothes from the plunder to the prisoners who were naked. They provided clothing and sandals to wear, gave them enough food and drink, and dressed their wounds with olive oil. They put those who were weak on donkeys and took all the prisoners back to their own land--to Jericho, the city of palms. Then they returned to Samaria." Below is the artist Vincent van Gogh's take on the parable of the Good Samaritan from the year 1890:
New Testament - Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion has a great overview of three historical interpretations of how Christians are to submit to the government per Paul's writings in Romans chapter 13 verse 1 today: "1. Some Christians believe the state is so corrupt that Christians should have as little to do with it as possible. 2. Others believe that God has given the state authority in certain areas and the church authority in others. Christians can be loyal to both and can work for either. They should not however confuse the two. 3. Still others believe that Christians have a responsibility to make the state better. They can do this politically by electing high-principled leaders. None of these 3 views advocate rebelling against or refusing to obey the government's laws or regulations unless those laws clearly require you to violate the moral standards revealed by God." Bible.org's commentary on this subject titled "The Christian and Civil Government" is at this link. I lean toward a mix of #2 and #3 these days. I think there is much value in Christians paying attention to local and national and international governments, and getting involved. Let us not just throw our hands up in the air and think that our government is nothing but this image below... :) (or if we do think our government is nothing but this image below, then let us work to change the reality!)
How incredibly powerful are Paul's words in Romans 13 verses 8 through 10 - "Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God's law. For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting--and any other commandment--are all summed up in this one commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements." Wow... great stuff. Love satisfies all of God's requirements. Do you believe this to be true? What type of love do you think Paul is talking about here? A passive love? An active love? Who is the last person you paid the debt of love to? Who is the next person you will pay the debt of love to? Will you pay the debt of love to somebody in your life each and every day?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Romans titled "Love, Law, and the Last Days" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 23! What a Psalm!! This is the first Psalm for sure that I ever really read and was comforted by without a doubt. Psalm 23 is a profession of joyful trust in God as the good Shepherd-King by David. I like The Message's take on Psalm 23 at this link. Bible.org has a wonderful commentary on Psalm 23 titled "A Psalm that calms the soul" at this link.
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs 20 verse 11 we read – “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.” This is an interesting Proverb for me to meditate upon. I focus in on the word “actions" here. Basically this Proverb to me is saying that actions matter. Our actions don’t save us or make us right with God, but they matter. Even children are known by their actions. Do you think that you and I are known by our actions? If so, what are our actions saying to others? Is our conduct pure and right? I have some friends who seem to think that actions do not matter – particularly once we are in relationship with Jesus. I get very nervous with this line of thinking. I think particularly once we are in a relationship with Jesus, we are called to follow Jesus and we are called to holiness. We are called to be saints. Yes, saints. Now, don’t get me wrong – we will stumble. We will fall. We will not be perfect this side of heaven. Even after being in relationship with Jesus we will make mistakes. But, I believe we are called to live our lives such that we incrementally start to look more and more like God’s own son, Jesus. I believe we are called to love like Jesus. Forgive like Jesus. Give like Jesus. And this list goes on – check out the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 for a nice list of actions for us to emulate. So – even a child is known by his actions. What would people say about you based on your actions these days? Would they see that you are becoming more and more like Jesus with each passing day, week, month, and year? Do you think your actions matter?
YouTube: As we're reading Psalm 23 today, this video of Abby reciting Psalm 23 seems wholly appropriate!
Is the Lord your Shepherd? Click here to not be in want!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on six verses of Scripture today: "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." Psalm 23:1-6 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that the Lord is your shepherd. Pray that you are not in want. Pray that your soul is being restored by the Lord. Pray that you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Pray you will memorize Psalm 23 today, and pray this Psalm frequently.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
p.p.p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this One Year Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!
II Chronicles 26:1-28:27
Here we have another king, Uzziah, who sought the Lord only as long as the High Priest, Zechariah, lived. God gave this man success as long as he sought the Lord,
5 Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. And as long as the king sought the LORD, God gave him success (26:5 NLT).
Success, real success comes from the Lord when we follow after God. The first time I remember hearing this concept were in the words God spoke to Joshua before he lead Israel into the Promise Land.
This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. (Jos 1:8 AMP)
Success does not mean prosperity the way we usually think of it; in fact one can be prosperous in man’s eye and not have “good” success. The use of the adjective “good” before the word success implies one’s success can be bad. Today I read in the paper that a very wealthy man, who others said taught them how to love and loved his family, Arthur Zankel, jumped out of the ninth floor window of his apartment building. He was indeed prosperous: but was he successful in God’s economy.
It seems that godly success had a inherent trap for us, illegal conversion. We take what belongs to God, done under the power of God and covert it to success accomplished by me, myself and I, the unholy trinity. Studying the rise and downfall of Israel’s and Judah’ kings should be a warning and example for us in what NOT to do when we are blessed with success done God’s way.
Rom 13:1-2 NET. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God's appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. (2) So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment
Hmmm, so we ARE supposed to obey our governing bodies, even when they are not Christian. Paul wrote this as a citizen of the Roman Empire, a not so very nice government. So what was that thing about not paying taxes because …
There are a lot of us Christians who think we are above the law of the land. We justify our breaking of the laws. We even justify not obeying rules and regulations of the local church body we attend. “Yes, I know we are asked not to leave before the Pastor dismisses us and especially when the alter call has gone out and we are praying for those who have accepted Jesus Christ, but I have an emergency.” Then latter you find that emergency is being the first on line to get the tape or CD of the message Pastor just spoke on about obedience. If we cannot obey and honor the laws of the land, our church and our jobs given be the people we can see; do we really think we are going to obey God whom we cannot?
Joh 14:15 NET. "If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”
Who is speaking? Jesus.
I know this Psalm is read at funerals; however, I’ve always been uncomfortable when it is read over a deceased body or when death is talked about, but that is my thing. I look at the transition from verses two and three, which state, “He maketh me…; He leadeth …; He restoreth …,” then in verse four, “Yea, though I walk…” Shepherds lead and sheep follow, but sometimes they walk off and follow something else. Yet the Good Shepherd goes and looks for the lost sheep (John 10:11). That looking for the lost sheep and finding them is where I see verse four coming in.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
(Psa 23:4 KJVR)
If Jesus is light and life, then death is not with Him. If I have taken it upon myself to walk after a hireling, someone who doesn’t love the sheep, then I will find myself in the Valley of the Shadow of death. A shadow has no substance; it is not the real thing. A shadow is, (1. darkened shape of something in light: a darkened shape on a surface that falls behind somebody or something blocking the light-- Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2005). I’ve never been bitten by a shadow of a dog but I’ve been bitten by the real thing.
The rod and staff of a shepherd is used to fend off wild animals, or people, and to pull the animal out of crevices, holes and bramble bushes the wandering sheep might find themselves in.
As stated in the beginning this is my problem and something I’ve thought about over the years.
Hmmm, there is this way of thinking that ALL children are born sin free. They not born bad, they become bad by their environments and the people surrounding them. This eleventh verse makes no mention of the parents or the neighborhood. Life is all about choices and even a child can choose to do good or do evil no matter the neighborhood or their parentage. And if even children are known by their acts, then what follows, as Mike has stated, we adults are definitely know by our acts, not our words or intentions.
When we excuse our behavior using our intentions as justification and we turn and judge others by their acts/behavior we are being hypocritical based on yesterdays readings. Yikes!
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | July 29, 2017 at 07:58 PM
Mike and everyone,
appreciate the reminder today in Romans 13:11-14 (Amplified Bible),
11 Do this, knowing that this is a critical time. It is already the hour for you to awaken from your sleep [of spiritual complacency]; for our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed [in Christ].
12 The night [this present evil age] is almost gone and the day [of Christ’s return] is almost here. So let us fling away the works of darkness and put on the [full] armor of light.
13 Let us conduct ourselves properly and honorably as in the [light of] day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility, not in quarreling and jealousy.
14 But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for [nor even think about gratifying] the flesh in regard to its improper desires.
In Romans 8:6 (NIV) Paul also told us,
6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
I read these words in blueletterbible.org's Sermon Notes for Romans 13:11,
'May we know the times in which we live,
may we understand the urgency about the things of the Lord,
may we yield our lives continually to the control of the Holy Spirit.'
Thank you very much for your faithfulness in serving God and serving people through this One Year Bible Blog,
may God bless you - may He continue to bless you with His wisdom and insights in understanding His Word,
may His grace be with you and your family!
may God use this blog to bring His Truth to far corners of the earth,
may He use this blog to bring many to worship Him and believe in Him.
Blessings to all of you!
Posted by: Joyce | July 30, 2017 at 05:04 PM