Reading #1 – John 16
Reading #2 – Psalms 108
Reading #3 – Proverbs 11
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 20
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 34
2 Chronicles 34 – King Josiah Reigns in Judah. Josiah the son of Amon began his reign at the age of 8 years old (1). When he became an adult at the age of 16, he sought the Lord G_d of his ancestor David. He commanded his people to tear down the pagan altars, Asherah poles, and cast images in Judah and Jerusalem (3-4). Only a remnant remained in Jerusalem after it was taken into exile in 722 BC (2 Kings 17); those that remained were invited to join Judah. Then Josiah burned the bones of the [pagan] priests on their altars and purged and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins, he tore down the altars and beat and crushed the Asherim and the carved images into powder, and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem (5-7). The restoration of the Temple of the Lord began in Josiah’s 10th year. The foremen received donations from the people to pay for the materials. In turn, the foremen gave each group the money they needed for their assigned project. There was no need to account for the use of the funds because the men acted with integrity (12-13). During the rebuilding, the book of the law of Moses was found in the Temple where it was supposed to be; the book had not been read for centuries. When the scribe read the book in the presence of Josiah, the king ripped his clothes in a sign of repentance. Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, “Go, inquire of the LORD for me and for those who are left in Israel and Judah regarding the words of the book which has been found; for great is the wrath of the LORD which has been poured out on us because our fathers have not kept and obeyed the word of the LORD, to act following everything that is written in this book (20-21).” The Prophetess Hulda was consulted to hear what the Lord had to say. The king was told about the destruction of Jerusalem and that he would not live to see his nation in ruins (26-28). King Josiah was a bright spot in a dark world. While it is true that although the pagan altars, Asherah poles, and cast images can be remade and new priests assigned, it also true that you can either live according to the law so that you are not part of the problem (Mike Krier).
Psalms 108 – A Psalm of David – For the Victory. King David was a warrior. Going into battle spiritually and physically requires confidence in your headship. David understood that he was under the command of the Lord G_d and he expressed confidence in G_d’s leadership (1). A person who goes into battle either spiritually or physically must prepare himself/herself. By singing praise to the Lord G_d, he was yielding the men under his command to the Lord (4-6). Who will bring me into the fortified city [of Petra]? Who will lead me to Edom? Have You not rejected us, O G_D? And will You not go out, O G_D, with our armies? Give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain [a worthless hope]. With G_D, we will do valiantly, For it is He who will trample down our enemies (10-13).
Proverbs 11 – Contrast the Upright and the Wicked. In the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, we have examples of both the wicked and the upright; the events of both are recorded by the scribes and are combined into the book of the kings. When you compare men like Hezekiah and Josiah against Manasseh and Amon, you will notice how the nation thrived in the times of Hezekiah and Josiah. Conversely, when Amon and Manasseh became king, the nation groaned under the tyrant kings. When you fast forward through the centuries, you will notice that in times of wicked leaders the people struggle to live so the words of Solomon remain true. When pride comes [boiling up with an arrogant attitude of self-importance], then come dishonor and shame, But with the humble [the teachable who have been chiseled by trial and who have learned to walk humbly with G_D] there is wisdom and soundness of mind (2). In times of peace and prosperity, we grow rich and we think, “I have finally made it and now I can buy anything I want”. When destruction finds its way to our doorstep, at first we can buy ourselves out of it but in the long run, the money will run out and the walls we built to isolate ourselves will become our prison (6). There is the one who [generously] scatters [abroad], and yet increases all the more, And there is the one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want and poverty. The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown] (24-25). The seeds we plant in our life and that of others will either bring forth edible or inedible food (30).
Jeremiah 20 – Pashhur Persecutes Jeremiah. The message that Jeremiah was sent to deliver to the king of Judah was not popular with the people and especially not the king. Passhur was an evil priest who took care of the house of the Lord (1). The prophets of Baal promised “great things for the king” but the Prophet Jeremiah was promising “destruction and slavery if the people did return to the Lord”. Passhur locked Jeremiah up in the gallows which was used to humiliate Jeremiah (2). And the next day Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD does not call your name Pashhur, but Magor-missabib (terror on every side) (3). Jeremiah’s complaint to the Lord G_d stemmed from the outcome of preaching the word of the Lord. If Jeremiah had not spoken the word of the Lord to the nation, they would not have been warned of the coming days of trials. If I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak His name anymore,” Then my heart becomes a burning fire Shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot endure it [nor contain it any longer] (9). Why did I come out of the womb To see trouble and sorrow, So that my days have been filled with shame (18)?
John 16 – Jesus’ Warning. Jesus is warning the disciples about the events that will follow the crucifixion. Up to this point in time, Jesus watched over the fledgling group like a mother eagle over her chicks. The disciples watched at Jesus single-handedly dismantled the Sanhedrin’s religious stance. After the crucifixion, this group would appear to be alone against the hawks (religious leaders). I have told you these things so that you will not stumble or be caught off guard and fall away. They will put you out of the synagogues and make you outcasts. And a time is coming when whoever kills you will think that he is offering service to G_D. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father or Me. I have told you these things [now], so that when their time comes, you will remember that I told you about them. I did not say these things to you at the beginning, because I was with you (1-4). So, how would the group handle the Sanhedrin and the ruling party? Enter the Holy Spirit of G_d. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you] (7). While it was true that Jesus’ earthly ministry would end, it was also true that from the seeds of faith many ministries would launch. Today, we have many hundreds of thousands of ministries in every quadrant of the world. Jesus was one man but the Spirit of G_d is not limited to one man at a time He omnipresent and omnipotent.