Reading #1 – John 14
Reading #2 – Psalms 106
Reading #3 – Proverbs 9
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 18
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 32
2 Chronicles 32 – Sennacherib Invades Judah. Whenever and where ever the Lord G_d works for mankind, the Devil and his minions will always go into disrupting the movement. Hezekiah had been faithful to the Lord, himself, and the people in his care. When Sennacherib and his armies invaded Jerusalem in 701BCE, the purpose was to subjugate or enslave the people but he failed. Hezekiah’s father Ahaz hired Assyria to support in defeating the King of Aram and the king of Syria. Ahaz was forced to pay tribute to Assyria month-to-month so when Hezekiah came to power, he stopped the payments and Assyria left the nation alone. Old enemies are likened to Paul’s persistent thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12) because, when our heart is set on serving the Lord and allow nothing to stop us, the Lord who was, is, and is yet to come almighty (Revelations 1:8) will keep your hearts in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7); when this happens, the thorn or “old enemies” will become “less” and He will become more (John 3:30). Conversely, when our pride becomes bigger than the G_d we serve, the “old enemies” or the thorn comes back with a vengeance. The gods that the commander of Assyrian’s armies was referring to were Ahaz’s gods and idols that were not gods. “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘In what do you trust that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? Is not Hezekiah misleading you to let you die by famine and thirst while saying, “The LORD our God will rescue us from the hand of the king of Assyria (10-11)?” This turn of events put Assyria where G_d wanted them to be: the belligerent aggressor whose fate was soon to come. But Hezekiah the king and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven [for help]. And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed every brave warrior, commander, and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So the king returned to his land in shame. And when he entered the house (temple) of his god, some of his children killed him there with the sword. Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and the hand of all others, and He gave them rest on every side. And many brought gifts to the LORD at Jerusalem and valuable presents to Hezekiah king of Judah; so from then on he was exalted in the sight of all nations (20-23).
Psalms 106 – Rebellious Israel and the Lord’s Faithfulness. The Lord never seeks praise from his children to show the world “how good he is”. From his goodness, it should lead us to repentance (Psalms 33:5). When we praise G_d for what He has done, there is nothing he will withhold from us. Consider the “Pendulum” just it swings one way, it will swing back the other in equal time and measure. Who can put into words the mighty deeds of the LORD? Or who can proclaim all His praise [that is due Him] (2)? The Devil will compel by smoke and mirrors that what we have so far is become of what we did and that the idea of a “loving God” is foolishness. It was for this reason that the golden calf was made because man needed a figurehead to guide them even if it was made by their hands. When faith is predicated on the appearance of miracles, people become mislead, and just assuredly as G_d is praised, so is the Devil. When we worship idols whether an inanimate object (idol) or a job, we have to remember that these things will fail; we may succeed for a little bit but eventually, the item will fail and we will be left to deal with the outcome. Just because the people are rebellious, it does not mean “we have no recourse but to quit”. Therefore He said He would destroy them, [And He would have done so] had not Moses, His chosen one, stepped into the gap before Him, To turn away His wrath from destroying them (23). If G_d destroyed the nation because Moses did nothing, Moses could have been destroyed alongside them. So, it was paramount for Moses and Phineas to take the moral high road and praise the Lord by standing in the gap for the people. Blessed be the Lord G_d of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. And let all the people say Amen, Praise the Lord Hallelujah (48)!
Proverbs 9 – Wisdom’s invitation. An invitation is a signed letter inviting you to _____. Of course, with some invitations, there are strings attached that we are not aware of. When you read pamphlets containing offers, the cost is most likely not listed. The Devil is crafty though because he is keenly aware that the “cost” will scare potential customers from buying into the Devil’s product. Wisdom’s invitation is open to “whosoever”. “Whoever is naive or inexperienced, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed [and accept my gifts]. “Leave [behind] your foolishness [and the foolish] and live, And walk in the way of insight and understanding (4-6).” Foolishness leads his/her subject down a road with placating words like, “trust me” only to get the person hopelessly lost. But he does not know that the spirits of the dead are there,
And that her guests are [already] in the depths of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) (18).
Jeremiah 18 – The Potter and the Clay. This illustration outlines G_d’s relationship with mankind or the nation of Israel. From the time of Abraham to the present time, G_d has been in a relationship with the nation and consequently anyone who will humble themselves before him. But the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand; so he made it over, reworking it and making it into another pot that seemed good to him (4). When we go astray, the pot that we are being made to be gets marred and becomes useless so the production is stopped until the pot is remade which can take years just like the time it took for Israel to finally get their act together. ‘Yet My people have forgotten Me; They burn incense to worthless gods, They have stumbled from their ways From the ancient roads, To walk in pathways, Not on a highway, Making their land a desolation and a horror, A thing to be hissed at perpetually; Everyone who passes by will be astounded And shake his head [in scorn] (15-16). The thing that keeps us away from G_d is the lies that we glom onto. The prophet Jeremiah just like the Prophet/teacher Jesus was under attack by the people he served. Everything Jeremiah tried to teach Israel was written in scripture before the events even happened.
John 14 – Jesus Comforts His Disciples. For 3.5 years, Jesus had led the fledgling group. The group witnessed Jesus healing, feeding, and encouraging people. The disciples were sent out to minister in Jerusalem to their families and they saw how the Devil lost lives to the kingdom of G_d (Luke 10:17-18). Now, Jesus’ time was coming to a close. The group was fearful that they would be abandoned knowing this, Jesus said, “Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going, and] believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself so that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way (1-4).” I thought it was a test to see what this group learned under his tutelage. In most cases when a person stands up to lead a revolution, the group breaks up when the ring leader is gone (Acts 5:36). As we will find out in the book of Acts, this would be one of the rare instances where the death of the leader, the group continues in the face of pressure. The verses 12-14 raise an interesting question though, “why would he say, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do, and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach] because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it’”? What would these men and women need to face the hardships ahead? Enter the Holy Spirit of G_d. This “comforter” would be like “English 201”. Jesus fed them and now they would be weened from the breast and fed solid food in preparation for ministry. Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] You heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you [really] loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going [back] to the Father, for the Father is greater than I (27-28).