Reading #1 – John 17
Reading #2 – Psalms 109
Reading #3 – Proverbs 12
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 21
Reading #5 – 2 Chronicle 35
2 Chronicles 35 – Passover Observed Again. In Josiah’s 18th year, the Passover was observed beyond anything the kings before him observed. The priests took their positions to fulfill the law of Moses. The notation in verse 3, “To the Levites who taught all Israel and were holy to the LORD he said, “Put the holy ark in the house (temple) which Solomon the son of David king of Israel built; it shall not be a burden [carried] on your shoulders any longer. Now serve the LORD your God and His people Israel”, implied that the holy Ark of the Covenant had been removed probably during the rebuilding of the Temple. The combined efforts of the king, his officers (8), and officers of the Levites (9) added to the magnitude of the Passover. No Passover like it had been celebrated in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (18). When Pharaoh Neco planned to invade Israel/Samaria in 609 at the battle of Megido, Josiah unwisely went into battle although the Pharaoh warned him not (20-21), the good king Josiah was killed in battle. Jeremiah lamented the death of Josiah in Lamentations 4:20 (25). The people buried Josiah in the tombs of the kings’ something not too many were afforded because of their actions.
Psalms 109 – A Psalm of David – Vengeance Invoked Upon Adversaries. Every one of us has wished vengeance on those who have caused us harm and this is a completely normal human behavior. The thing is, more often than not, our prayer is not answered in the way we expect. When we pray for the offenders, G_d answers our prayer two-fold. First, our heart becomes softened and 2nd, it builds a bridge that reaches the offender. In the time Jesus was being ridiculed by the people during the crucifixion, it was a perfect time to pray the angels to destroy these people yet he found room for mercy. When we do not have mercy on others or pray for their demise, when the fault is found in us we too shall be destroyed. David, just like you and me, was not Lilly white as to never have sinned (John 8:7).
Proverbs 12 – Contrast of the Upright and Wicked. The heart of the foolish does not need to be ridiculed because his/her actions will bring that about. Conversely, the upright person does not need to brag about his/her accomplishments, their actions will speak for themselves. Josiah lived to serve the Lord and the people respected him and sought to protect him. Conversely, Amon did not remember the problems father Manassah encountered because of sinfulness so he finished what his father had started. The righteous man is a guide to his neighbor, But the way of the wicked leads them astray (26). Josiah brought unity to the kingdom not out of proclamation but out of a deep inward desire followed by his actions (2 Chronicles 34 and 35).
Jeremiah 21 – Jeremiah’s Message to Zedekiah. Jerusalem would be soon be handed over to the Chaldeans and Babylon because of sin. The king sent Passhur along with Zephaniah to ask Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord hopefully, to avert the coming destruction. Unfortunately, Jeremiah would not prophecy one word that was not in line with G_d’s message to the nation. By standing on the Lord’s side, Jeremiah had become the #1 criminal who would be charged with abandoning Jerusalem to side with Babylon. ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will turn back and dull the edge of the weapons of war that are in your hands, [those] with which you fight against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls; and I will bring them into the center of this city (Jerusalem). I will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm in anger, in fury, and great indignation and wrath (4-5). When we fear man more than honoring G_d, we become complicit in our nation and family’s destruction.
John 17 – The Highly Priestly Prayer. Jesus would soon pay the ultimate price for living righteously in an unrighteous world. This ordeal he would soon face was done so lightly even knowing where his soul would go. The fear of death is not easily embraced because it would mean leaving people behind. We cannot change the world around us without first changing our outlook. Jesus loved and prayed for everybody even Judas and the Sanhedrin. For the words which You gave Me I have given them, and they received and accepted them and truly understood [with confident assurance] that I came from You [from Your presence], and they believed [without any doubt] that You sent Me (8). He could only make the Father known by living to please Him in all that he did. Because of Jesus’ selfless approach to discipleship, his disciples would be prepared to face the future and to be able to impact their world. Jesus equally knew that the group would be able to reach others in the same way Jesus had taught them. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth (15-17). Jesus’ mission was completed in this world and now it would be the disciples’ turn. and I have made Your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them [overwhelming their heart], and I [may be] in them (26).”