Reading #1 – John 13
Reading #2 – Psalms 105
Reading #3 – Proverbs 8
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 17
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 31
2 Chronicles 31 – The Idols are Destroyed. Hezekiah was a righteous king who always sought to do what was right in G_d’s eyes. Remember, the two books of Chronicles of the kings were written after the people returned from exile which, was about 149 years from when the king reigned. “My Jewish Learning” indicates that this great festival was a repudiation (rejection of a proposed idea) of idol worship that prevailed in the time of Ahaz king of Judah. Under King Ahaz, the nation endured a time of persecution, confusion, and destruction. Yesterday, we read that King Hezekiah held the first Passover (Pesach) since the time of King Solomon which was about 246 years. Hezekiah addressed two parts of the problem that brought about trouble for Judah and the 3rd part would be the destruction of the idols that the false prophets enticed people to worship. Now when all of this was finished, all Israel who was present went out to the cities of Judah, and smashed the [pagan] pillars (obelisks, memorial stones) in pieces, cut down the Asherim (wooden symbols of a female deity), and tore down the high places and the altars [of idolatry] throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the sons (descendants) of Israel returned to their cities, each to his property (1-2). It was because the people stood up as one nation and destroyed the idols, celebrated the Passover wholeheartedly, and they returned the treasures to the temple that the Lord blessed the nation (Malachi 3:10). Because the people and the king executed the Lord’s plans, G_d poured out a blessing bigger than anything the people had seen since the time of Solomon. The genealogical registration included all their little children, their wives, and their sons and daughters, for the whole assembly, because they consecrated themselves faithfully in holiness. very work which he began in the service of the house of God in keeping with the law and the commandment, seeking and inquiring of his God [and longing for Him], he did with all his heart and prospered (18,21).
Psalms 105 – The Lord’s Wonderful Works on Behalf of Israel. The writer of this Psalm, most likely David, recounts Israel’s story and evidence for G_d’s blessing. Being blessed richly by G_d does not occur simply because we affix a pleasing name like “Christians” or “Israel”. G_d blesses us when we are obedient to his word and live according to his plan for our life. “Devout praise” is more than a song or some lyrics that lists the name of the Lord. Devout praise is a lifestyle that is predicated on consistent obedience in and out of the sight of people. Because Hezekiah honored the complete Word of the Lord, eradicated idol worship from the land, and returned tithe into the temple, the nation enjoyed a time of prosperity. When we are unthankful for what He has done in our life, he withholds blessings because we will think we got the blessing on our merit. Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those who seek and require the LORD [as their most essential need] rejoice (3). “Thankfulness” must spring from wells of our heart or it could be construed as “placation”. The writer recounts Israel’s story to teach the people about the praiseworthy actions of the Lord. The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His sworn oath to Isaac, Which He confirmed to Jacob as a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, “To you, I will give the land of Canaan As the measured portion of your inheritance (9-11).” The defining difference between Joseph the son of Jacob, the righteous kings, and the wicked kings were “obedience as a lifestyle”. He made Joseph lord of his house And ruler of all his possessions, To imprison his princes at his will, That he might teach his elders wisdom (21-22).
Proverbs 8 – The Commendation of Wisdom. There are two types of wisdom: from Heaven and earth. Solomon was granted wisdom from Heaven but he did not always employ it in his life. Earthly wisdom says, “I do not need G_d, I am smart according to my perception”. For this reason, mankind trips over the “Rock of our salvation” because G_d’s word calls everybody called by his name to honor him with our life, not our mouth. The wisdom of the wise says, “just listen to the words until G_d is no longer the subject (1 Corinthians 3:19). “O you naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled], understand prudence and seek astute common sense; And, O you [closed-minded, self-confident] fools, understand wisdom [seek the insight and self-discipline that leads to godly living] (5); this was the difference between Jesus and the religious scholars of that time. When our words agree with mankind’s perceptions of righteousness, we are operating under the spirit of the liar (John 8:44). “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness (upright, in right standing with God); There is nothing contrary to truth or perverted (crooked) in them. “They are all straightforward to him who understands [with an open and willing mind], And a right to those who find knowledge and live by it (8-9).
Jeremiah 17 – The Deceitful Heart. The heart of mankind is deceitful because it comes across as “obedient” but the meaning is lost in the web of what is spoken. The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus; With a diamond point, it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart And on the horns of their altars (1). Sin is never erased by changing the meaning either by omission or commission (John 14:15). In the same way that the spider spins a web by connecting unmoveable points to trap bugs and eat them, so it is with sin. O [Jerusalem] My mountain in the countryside, I will give [to the Babylonians, as the cost of your sin] your wealth and all your treasures as plunder, And throughout your territory, your high places of sin (3). Trusting in mankind to lead us to G_d without one time seeking the Word f the Lord will cause us to tumble. Judah was in its waning days when this word came to Jeremiah. The king, his staff, and most of the people in Judah had chosen to seek the alliance with Egypt and Jeremiah stood as the lone voice of G_d. When we are caught in this “no-win situation”, it is easy to believe “I am all alone and I just might be wrong.” I believed [and clung to my God] when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” I said in my alarm, “All men are liars (Psalms 116:10-11).” The implication is that “I cannot trust mankind’s word so I must lean on the Lord G_d.” “The heart is deceitful above all things And it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives? “I, the LORD, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, To give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds (9-10). Above the footstool “earth”, is a heavenly throne and the Lord G_d sits on it and if we stay in His Word, we will know the truth (John 8:32). Choosing to walk in the paths of the Master is a choice that sometimes means we will walk alone. Being obedient is not a “cafeteria plan” that we can pick and choose which ones we will obey and which we will not.
John 13 – The Lord’s Supper. This was the waning hours of Jesus’ earthly life. The stage had been set for the climax that would change the world. Jesus got up and washed the disciples’ feet something only a slave would do. He did this as a sign of obedience. Jesus did not come to be a “conquering king”, he came to be a servant to all who came to him (Matthew 20:28, Isaiah 53:5,8,10-11). Judas became a traitor because sin had eaten him inside and Jesus’ love and mercy were like antisceptic to an open wound; it was for the same reason that the religious leaders would not listen to Jesus’ message. Sin and righteousness are anti-thesis so you either believe the one or the other, not both simultaneously.