Saturday, May 28, 2016

Week 21 Bible Reading Review

Week 21  2 Chronicles 6:1 to 2 Chronicles 29:1

2 Chron 6  Solomon’s prayer shows the reason why some people today turn toward Jerusalem in prayer. Does the absence of the temple and God’s special presence there invalidate this benefit?

2 Chron 7:5  An incredible number of animals sacrificed, such a contrast from our present lives and way of worshiping.

2 Chron 10  Going against the word of God will end in failure, period.

2 Chron 12:14  Doing evil is equated with not seeking the Lord!  More on this later.

2 Chron 13:18  Key:  “The Judahites succeeded because they depended on the Lord”

2 Chron 15:9  Something I had not remembered…  many from Israel defected to Judah when they noticed that “Yahweh his God was with him” (the king).  It would go well with us if we did this today, but is there a country where this would be true of the leader?

2 Chron 15:13  Those who would not seek God were put to death!  Are we seeking Him?

2 Chron 16  Perhaps Asa took matters in his own hands when he thought he could handle it.  A lesson to remember, seek YHVH regardless.

2 Chron 18:15  It is funny how the king did not believe Micaiah’s first response.  Almost as if he knew the answer himself.

2 Chron 18:28  Why would Jehoshaphat fight alongside Ahab after seeking Micaiah’s words, and agree to be the target on top of that?  Perhaps he thought safe as the prophecy did not pertain to him directly.

2 Chron 20:22  I don’t think it insignificant that this verse states God fought for Judah the moment they began their shouts and praises!

2 Chron 19:2 and 20:37  Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Israel’s kings did not bring blessings, but instead curses from God.  If the prophets had not told him the cause and effect would he have made the connection?  Do we make the proper connections of cause and effect in our own lives?

2 Chron 26  A series of events that might seem unrelated could be a set of events bringing about God’s will, judgement and justice to a disgraced king.

2 Chron 26:5  …During the time that he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

I heard a message this past week where to me, the primary questions asked were, “What is my priority?” and “Am I doing it?”  After reading through Chronicles, I now know that my priority should be to “seek God with my whole heart”.  My priority need not be to find God, but rather to seek Him as His word promises that we WILL find him when we seek.  The next logical question then becomes:  “How does one seek God?”  I have been thinking about this question and the answer may be different for everyone but here are a few ways (taken from lessons in Chronicles) we should be seeking Him.

  • Look for God in creation.  Instead of just taking life for granted as it passes by, one should slow down and consider the artist.  Consider the Creator as we enjoy His creation all around us.
  • Seek God’s council / direction for the challenges we face.  Even if we think “I got this one”, which proved to be a grave mistake for some of the kings we read about, it is always better to seek His will in all things.
  • Look for God in my circumstances.  It is easy to chalk up the cause of my circumstances to time and chance, or as a result of other's choices and actions, but as I mentioned in some of the verses read, we should consider what our responsibility is for our situation.  What is God showing us?  What is He working on in our life?  This will not only show us where we need to repent, or where we need to press on, but also is another way to seek Him and His heart for us!
  • Humbly Seek God at all times.  In time of need with prayer and supplication.  This usually isn’t too hard for us as we tend to do it by default when we run out of options.  But just as importantly, go to Him with thanksgiving and praise in our time of abundance (or need).  Another downfall for several kings, when they became proud and thought they had acquired their wealth and position on their own, was forgetting that God is the one who establishes as well as removes us.  Conversely some turned their back on God when they faced judgement, trial and hardship, which also stems from pride in oneself.

Some verses on seeking God:

  • But if you seek the LORD your God from there, you will find him, if, indeed, you seek him with all your heart and soul. (Deut 4:29)
  • Now seek the LORD your God wholeheartedly and with your entire being! … (1Chr 22:19)
  • … The LORD is with you when you are loyal to him. If you seek him, he will respond to you, but if you reject him, he will reject you. (2Chr 15:2)
  • They solemnly agreed to seek the LORD God of their ancestors with their whole heart and being. (2Chr 15:12)
  • Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. (Ps 119:2)
  • I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. (Prov 8:17)
  • And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)
  • “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. (Matt 7:7)

I looked at the Strong’s for the word "seek" in Deuteronomy 4:29 and found there are 2 different words used in that verse.  Below is the list of Strong's definitions for the 2 words:

H1245 "baqash"
  1. to search out (by any method, specifically in worship or prayer)
  2. to strive after
H1875 "darash"
  1. to tread or frequent
  2. to follow (for pursuit or search)
  3. to seek or ask
  4. to worship

Next Reading:  Week 22  2 Chronicles 29:1 to Nehemiah 1:1

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Week 20 Bible Reading Review

Week 20  1 Chronicles 12:1 to 2 Chronicles 6:1

1 Chron 17:14  Here it speaks of David’s throne established forever without the caveat of “if you obey and don’t depart from My ways” as found in other places.  An important principle when studying scripture is to take the whole council of scripture to get a balanced view of any subject.

1 Chron 18:4  The HCSB commentary on this verse mentions that during David’s time, hamstringing horses was a standard method of crippling an enemy force by immobilizing them.

1 Chron 21:1  Satan incited David to count the people.  As noted previously in 2 Samuel 24:1, it states that God incited David, to punish Israel.  One could argue as to whom caused David's infraction, was it God or Satan, but I think this would be missing the point.  It can be easy to misplace blame for our circumstances, when in reality it is a result of our own poor choices and actions.  Blaming others is an excuse when we instead should be examining our hearts and humbling ourselves.

1 Chron 21:17  An admirable response to the plague by David.  He was taking responsibility for his actions and interceding for his subjects.

1 Chron 21:24  David insisted on paying for the items needed for the sacrifice.  A friend wrote an excellent blog on this subject entitled: "Sacrifice" (Click to read as a Message of Interest for this week).

David set into motion with great preparation the things for building the temple and its service.  Many areas of service were determined by lot.  Is this a method of selection that we should utilize more for today?  It might make for quite a different outcome if the positions were filled by lot instead of by our preferences.

1 Chron 29  David led by example in giving of his own treasure (gold and silver) to the building of the temple.  The people willingly followed his example.  A sign of a good leader.

2 Chron 5:14 And because of the cloud, the priests were not able to continue ministering, for the glory of the Lord filled God’s temple.  Part of the HCSB commentary on this verse states: “It was a reminder that God’s presence among His people is ultimately the focal point, not the many activities that the people carry out in worshiping God.”  How easy is it for us to think that what we are doing is so important that we miss His presence, focusing instead on our activities / duties?

Next Reading:  Week 21  2 Chronicles 6:1 to 2 Chronicles 29:1

Friday, May 13, 2016

Week 19 Bible Reading Review

Week 19  2 Kings 19:1 to 1 Chronicles 12:1

2 King 20  Why would Hezekiah ask for a sign for his healing?  Seems it would be obvious in a few days.

2 King 20  Hezekiah showing his treasuries to the Babylonian king’s son may hint at an alliance formed.  Was Isaiah’s prophecy contingent on this action as the text makes it seem, or was it coincidental?

2 King 22:19  Josiah was prophetically told he would not see the destruction.  All he did to clean up Israel was likely for the hopes of the future generations.  This showed his heart to be concerned for the people rather than just himself.

1 Chron 5:26  God put it into the king's mind to exile the Israelites.  We should that those who oppose us may be doing God’s will.

1 Chron 10:14  States “So the Lord put him (Saul) to death”.  A few verses earlier we read Saul killed himself.  This is an important textual criticism…  a “literal” statement may not be as literal as it reads.

There are lots of names in this section.  Perhaps it was valuable to those and their descendants at the time, but the farther away from the heritage we get, the less useful it seems.  From dust to dust.

Next Reading:  Week 20  1 Chronicles 12:1 to 2 Chronicles 6:1

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Week 18 Bible Reading Review

Week 18  2 Kings 1:1 to 2 Kings 19:1

2 King 1:15  Did the angel tell Elijah to send fire on the 2 previous groups?

2 King 2:24  The curse that was spoken came to pass.  Sometimes it seems that the power given Elisha was available “at his whim” as opposed to “by God’s approval” as in this case.

2 King 4:2  What do you have?  Multiplication seems God’s preference rather than to make something out of nothing. Perhaps to motivate us to work with what we have instead of bemoan what we don’t and do nothing.

2 King 4:33  Insight into Elisha’s dependence on God as he sought Him for direction before proceeding with the dead boy.

2 King 4:41  Either everyone trusted Elisha or maybe they waited for him to eat the soup first?

2 King 4:26  Why did Gehazi think Elisha wouldn’t know what he did?  Didn’t he pay attention?

2 King 6:17  What a confidence booster!  To be able to see the heavenly host.

2 King 6:18  Blindness request granted!  I don’t think they were completely “blind” but just didn’t see / recognize everything.

2 King 6:21  A respectable response that brought peace.  Feed your enemies instead of kill them.

2 King 8:6  This verse shows God’s restorative provision for obedience.

2 King 8:15  The question is, would Hazeal done what he did had Elisha not told him his future?  Also, would it have been wrong to try and stop his future or was it an inevitability?  (Similar case read later with Jehu)

2 King 18:4  Hezekiah was the first in a long line of kings to be likened to David.  He even destroyed a “valuable artifact” (the Bronze Serpent) from Moses’ day that had become idolized.  Are we willing to let go of / destroy things we would consider valuable if they cause sin?

2 King 18  A common repeated mistake is to disdain Yahweh himself, this typically results in one’s own destruction.

Next Reading:  Week 19  2 Kings 19:1 to 1 Chronicles 12:1

To Reflect or To Shine?

Matt 5:16  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Elaborating a little on last week's Message of Interest: Your Light post, we are told to let our light shine, which is an individual expression of His light in and through us.

I find it much easier to be a reflection or “mirror” than a light.  Sometimes we try to mimic others around us who we admire, to be like them, even though we are to be our own light.  Many times this reflective behavior backfires and we end up being like those not so savory examples in our midst.  For example, someone yells at us, we yell back.  Someone treats us poorly, we do the same in return.

Being a light requires much more courage and strength.  To be consistent and unwavering in quality provides a good light that is desired and doesn’t irritate one’s eyes.   To do this we have to rely on His strength in us and not our own.  To be a light powered by His Spirit.

Psalm 28:7  The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.