June - Reading 16

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Jun 16, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    I believe that our reading in 2Kings stands well on its own tonight without much commentary. There are a few clarifications I would like to cite, however.
    The loss of the axehead in chapter 6 is significant because a tool made of iron was a very expensive commodity in those days. The prophet had to borrow this tool from someone and the loss of it could have put him in debt and servitude to the owner. God allowing the iron to float is a demonstration of how He takes care of His own.
    The cost of a donkey head in 6:25 demonstrates the desperation to which the besieged Israelites had been driven. Remember that a donkey would have been considered unclean and any of you with any experience in butchering know that an animals head is not the easiest part of an animal from which to get meat.

    Our reading in Luke is a repitition of the same story we read in Matthew 8:2-4 and Mark 1:40-44. Luke does, however, add the extent to which the leporosy had affected the man.

    The main thing that stands out to me personally in our reading of Phillipians tonight is that verses 21 through 23 were read at my Grandmother's funeral a couple of weeks ago. My thanks again to Chris Temple for supplying this passage when I announced her death in the Member's private forum.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. ATeenageChristian

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    Well, since NO ONE replies to your posts Klint, :( I will. I am going to read the Bible with ya. I find the first Scripture reading to be quite interesting. It tells of the faith of Jews. How they lowered the man into the home so Jesus Christ could heal him.

    The Phillippian reading proves that we must constantly live in humility if we are to live in Christ. The reading is wonderful today Clint!
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    It has been interesting for me reading my thoughts from a year ago each day in this forum. The quoted statement really struck me.

    We, of course, lost Chris this year as well.

    Philippians 1
    21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
    (ESV)

    Amen.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School Lesson 9/14/03 - continued

    [Philippians 1:12-26]

    Circumstances lead to Salvation (19-26) –

    Paul displayed confidence that his imprisonment and harassment by rivals would turn to victory. This deliverance, or salvation as the KJV more accurately phrases it, may be referring to physical release from prison. If it refers to release from prison, Paul displays optimism in verse 1:25 & 2:24 and verse 26 supports this interpretation.

    From the context of verses 22-24 we can conjecture that he is referring to his Final Judgment before Christ. Paul viewed salvation as having three different aspects: he saw it as a past event as is demonstrated in Ephesians 2:8; a present goal as we see in Philippians 2:12; and a future occurrence as shown in Romans 13:11. We can think of these three aspects as Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. Going with the interpretation of final judgment in this Passage, in verse 19 Paul has fused the present and future aspects of salvation. Paul looks forward to standing blameless before both his human judges and his Heavenly One. Paul is here quoting the Septuagint rendering of Job 13:16 where the Patriarch looked forward to his final vindication.

    A third possibility is that Paul is referring to both incidents as metaphorical to each other.

    By either view, Paul attributes this accomplishment to two causes: the prayers of the Philippians and the work of the Holy Spirit.

    The prayers of the Philippians being a means to salvation is echoed in 2Corinthians 1:11. This aspect of the Christian community interceding for its members is an important theme in this lesson. These prayers were the positive work of the community and far out balanced the jealous ambitions of his rivals. The working of the Holy Spirit was certainly the more important element of his actual salvation but the intercessory prayers of his fellow believers may be viewed as increasing the activity of the Spirit on his behalf.

    The Spirit has no need to be informed of needs but prayer is an opening of the channels between God and man. The Greek text of these two factors, prayer and the work of the Spirit are joined together. Paul viewed them as interconnected with a single preposition and a single article. The sympathy, support and encouragement that the Philippians offered on Paul’s behalf made the prayer not only an opening of channels between man and God, but between man and man as well. It made them of one heart and one mind.

    Paul also makes it clear in this Passage from verses 22-24 that the outcome of his trial is irrelevant to him. A ruling of innocence would secure his release and he would live to labor more for Christ. An unfavorable ruling would result in his execution and he would be called home to the Lord. In either case Paul had reason to rejoice. Paul’s only concern was that he would not be ashamed in the discourse of his trial. If he would be able to hold his bearing then Christ would be honored through this seeming affliction.

    Had it not been for his ministry, specifically to the Philippians in this context, death would have been the better option for Paul. He does not express a desire to escape life but to take the “better” more gainful option of joining Christ. The strong Spiritual union between Paul and his savior was his total motivation and the service of the Lord his only goal. The hypothetical choice of life or death was a conundrum for Paul. Either option would result in the advance of the Gospel.

    It is important that we also glean from this Passage that Paul indicates a belief that he would be with Christ immediately after his death. There is no indication of a “soul sleep” or a purgatory. We can also confirm this doctrine from 2Corinthians 5:8.

    Paul recognized that his situation was in God’s hands and as such the outcome would be beneficial to the ministry to which he was committed. Paul’s confidence that “he would remain” shows that he saw that a continuance of his aid to the Philippians and others was of the greater benefit to the Christian community.

    The “joy”, or more literally, the “boasting” that the Philippians would experience upon Paul’s release would be directly traced to Christ. Not only would they rejoice at his release, but Paul indicates that he would come see them after this was affected.

    Sunday School lecture - 9/21/03

    Philippians 1:27-2:11

    Directly from his account to the events of his Roman imprisonment, Paul moves now into his first series of exhortations.

    1. Exhortation to unity in view of hostility (1:27-30).
    2. Exhortation to unity and humility (self-abnegation) towards others in the church with the Supreme example: the Mind of Jesus Christ (2:1-11).
    3. Exhortation to work out their salvation (2:12-18).

    Today, we will examine the first two of these exhortations, both calling the Christians to unity. This plea for unity reflects a potential division that may have been occurring in the Philippian church. Though Paul never directly states exactly what the division is, we see in 4:2 that Euodia and Syntyche were openly disagreeing and in 2:14 that grumbling and questioning were occurring. If we accept the dating of this Letter as being from Rome, Paul had already witnessed the divisions in the church at Corinth and would have been quite eager to head off such an event in a church that he so obviously loved.

    Exhortation to unity in view of hostility –

    (1:27-30) – Let your manner of life or, as the KJV states, let your conversation, translates from the Greek politeuomai (pol-it-yoo'-om-ahee) and more literally means “to behave as a citizen.” Paul will again address the issue of citizenship in 3:20 with the related word, politeuma (pol-it'-yoo-mah). Paul wished to stress to this strongly nationalistic Roman colony that their true citizenship was Heavenly. Christ stated this in no uncertain terms when He stood before Pilate in John 18:36.

    The Philippians had witnessed Paul using his Roman citizenship to manipulate the magistrates in Philippi when he and Silas were being released from prison in Acts 16:37-39. In Philippians Paul is encouraging his audience to use their much higher, Heavenly citizenship to display dignity the same way Paul used his Roman citizenship in Philippi.

    In acting in a way that showed their Heavenly citizenship, the Philippians would display unity. Paul stresses that this conduct is necessary whether he is able to visit them or has to learn of their progress through the reports of messengers. As Heavenly citizens, the Philippians were representatives and ambassadors for Christ, their King. We see that Paul used a similar argument in 2Corinthians 5:20 and Ephesians 6:19-20. As representatives of Christ, the Philippians had need to be of one spirit and of one mind. He is not referring here to the total agreement on theological debates or a dull loss of individuality, but rather the attitude and mindset of the Christian community should be of one accord.

    By drawing on this unity inspired by their common citizenship, the Christians would demonstrate their opponents’ destruction. While the Roman Empire certainly had the power to martyr and disperse the community, especially if Paul’s trial went badly, good conduct by the Philippians would demonstrate that the attitude and the spirit of the Christians at Philippi was unbroken. Indeed, history bore out that Christianity outlasted the Roman Empire despite the efforts of some of their later emperors. This good conduct would also demonstrate a witness of the Gospel to their tormentors.

    Verse 29 shows us that to suffer for the sake of Christ is actually a privilege. This is a very related concept to what we learned in James 1:3-4. This is an important facet of our philosophy. Suffering for the sake of the Gospel is as much a gift as the ability to believe in Christ upon regeneration and Grace as the means to salvation. Paul was not merely preaching this philosophy but lived it as well.

    continued
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lesson 6/27/04

    2Kings 6-7

    2Kings 6:1-7 The Floating Ax Head


    Following close on the heels of the story of Gehazi's avarice, the story of the floating ax head shows a stark contrast in how God and His servant dealt with the faithful and the unfaithful. Though the location of the sons of the prophets in this story is unspecified, the reader is lead to believe that it was probably Jericho as the new site would be on the Jordan. That there was a need for a new, larger dwelling indicates that the prophetic ministry was now flourishing under the direction of Elisha.

    The sons of the prophets were likely not very well off financially and thus the prophet described in the story had to borrow an ax for his construction project. At the time a piece of metalwork such as an ax head would have been very difficult to refine and produce and would have great value. The loss of the item was a major dilemma for the man because it not only meant that he could not return the item, but it put him in jeopardy of going into debt to the lender. By Mosaic Law, an unpaid debt could result in one entering servitude to the lender (Leviticus 25:39-40).

    When the son of the prophets told Elisha about his loss, Elisha asked to be directed to the place where the ax head went into the water. He then tossed a branch into the water and the ax head mimicked the action of the wood and rose to the surface where the obliging amateur carpenter reached out and took it.

    It should be noted at this juncture that many have tried to downplay this miracle of Elisha's saying that he actually used a stick to "fish out" the ax head. This type of interpretation, to my thinking, is counterproductive to the purpose and theology of the author. It is doubtful that an inspired document such as the Books of Kings would record such a mundane event as a man fishing an ax head out of a river with a stick. It is far more profitable for us as believers to take the account as it is narrated: God through His servant Elisha was able to nullify the laws of physics and make an iron ax head float to the surface, just as He did with Peter upon the water in Matthew 14:28-30.

    Elisha and the Aramean Wars 2Kings 6:8-8:15

    At this point in the Elisha cycle, we see the national prominence of Elisha as a prophet. We learn in these narratives that the prophetic revival begun in the ministry of Elijah continued on in his successor, Elisha. The political history involved is a natural byproduct and backdrop of the historian's intent, that being to elevate the grandeur of Elisha.

    2Kings 6:8-14 The Frustration of the Aramean King

    The king of Aram, who is named later in the chapter as Ben-Hadad (II), had built his nation to a strong military force as the Northern Kingdom steadily lost power. He had taken to making raids into Israel in order to acquire booty, slaves, and probably to show his might to his weakening neighbors. However, Elisha through prophetic revelation could see in advance what the raiding king's plans were and had begun informing Jehoram of the plans. The Israeli king would then either fortify these towns and prevent the Aramean raiding parties from enjoying success or avoid the areas in order to escape conflict. Ben-Hadad reached the logical conclusion that he had a traitor among his military counselors. He may have even suspicioned Naaman who had been converted in Chapter 5. When he confronts his "servants," probably indicating his military advisors, one of them speaks up of his knowledge of Elisha.

    Upon gaining this intelligence, the pagan king orders that his advisors find Elisha and that armed forces go to capture the prophet. Elisha was in the city of Dothan at the time about 10-12 miles north of Samaria, the capitol city. That the Aramaens could push so far into Israel with no recorded resistance shows the strength that they possessed and the seeming vulnerability of the Israelites. The Aramaens surrounded Dothan by night and laid siege to the city.

    2Kings 6:15-23 The Blinding and Capturing of the Arameans

    In the morning one of Elisha's servants, probably one of the sons of prophets in this case, awoke and saw the well-armed division of men that surrounded the city. In despair he asked Elisha what they would do. Elisha reassured the man that all would be well because the army that protected them was stronger and more numerous than the foreign invaders.

    At this point in the story, the reader recognizes a correlation between the Aramean king and the unnamed servant of Elijah. Both men thought in secular terms about the siege. Ben-Hadad felt that separating Elisha from Israel would lift God's protection from the nation. The servant thought that the affairs of powerful men were not under the total Sovereignty of God. Elisha, however, could see the larger scope of the issue. He prayed that the young servant could see what he saw through prophetic eyes. When he did, the young man recognized that the hills surrounding the invading forces were filled with an angelic army of horses and chariots. The Lord would protect Elisha and Israel as long as they remained faithful to Him. One may be reminded of the words of Christ as He was being arrested in Matthew 26:53.

    In a literary contrast to the prayer to open the servant's eyes, Elisha prays for the eyes of the Aramean invaders to go blind as they make their push on the city. The prophet then goes out to meet the invaders and with a bit of deception tells them that they were not in the right place to accomplish their task. He then leads the blinded invaders on the twelve mile hike to Samaria.

    At this point we should examine the use of Elisha's deception. Technically, it was not a lie. Since Elisha was going with them, they would indeed find him in Samaria. There are several Old Testament stories that involve the use of deception in order that God's people would be preserved. The Jewish midwives in Exodus 1:19-20 told Pharaoh that the reason they were not killing the Hebrew babies was because the Jewish women delivered so quickly. In Joshua 2:5 Rahab the prostitute in Jericho protected the Jewish spies with an outright lie and is commended even in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:31. In 1Samuel 16:2 Samuel is told by God to deceive Saul in order to preserve his life. In each of these cases we see that there is not a moral absolute on the Commandment against lying. While honesty is a Christian virtue, there is a need for discernment in extreme cases.

    Upon arriving within the city gates of Samaria, Elisha once again prays, this time that the blindness of the Arameans be lifted. God grants the petition and the would be invaders find themselves surrounded by their enemies. The king, Jehoram, asks Elisha if he should kill these troops but is scolded for the request. Elijah's retort, "Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? (KJV)," requires a bit of analysis. First of all, it was the power of the Lord that had taken the Arameans captive, not the king's army. Further, the king must have understood this rhetorical question because it was in fact customary to slay one's enemies in Israel (1Samuel 15:33; 1Kings 20:42). However, since it had not been the king's victory but the Lord's deliverance, Elisha commands that the enemy troops be fed and released. After this incident, the raids on Northern Israel ceased for a time.

    The deeper lesson of the return of sight to the Arameans speaks of an aspect of the nature of God. It is summed up beautifully by Matthew Henry:

    Satan, the god of this world, blinds men's eyes, and so deludes them into their own ruin; but, when God enlightens their eyes, they then see themselves in the midst of their enemies, captives to Satan and in danger of hell, though before they thought their condition good. The enemies of God and his church, when they fancy themselves ready to triumph, will find themselves conquered and triumphed over.

    Further, God offers mercy to those who have been blinded by sin and if they repent He will spare them His judgment. We as Christians also recognize Elisha's act of mercy as a foreshadowing of Christ's instructions from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:43-45.

    Deliverance of Samaria from Siege 2Kings 6:24-7:20

    Though the raids ceased after Elisha's capture of the troops sent to capture him, the shaky peace between Aram and Israel was never strengthened. Ben-Hadad II after a time gathered up his entire army in an effort to capture Samaria, Israel's Capitol City with Jehoram inside its walls. Once again, however, God stood on the side of Israel and communicated His Sovereignty through His prophet, Elisha.

    2Kings 6:24-33 Famine in Samaria

    This siege was not the first time that Ben-Hadad had taken Samaria captive. We see in 1Kings 20 that he went up against the city when Ahab was king of Israel. Scholars date the first siege at about 857 BC and the siege of 2Kings 6-7 seven years later, about 850 BC. In 1Kings 20 Ahab had let Ben-Hadad live against the wishes of the Lord and now he was back to plague another regime.

    The historian quickly moves into the story and describes quite graphically the state of the besieged city after time passed. Sieges in ancient times would often last for long periods of time. Rather than attacking a fortified city, all an invading army had to do was blockade the entrances and prevent food and water from reaching the inhabitants. By cutting off supply lines, they would eventually starve their enemies out. This was the case in Samaria.

    That the inhabitants would buy a donkey's head for 80 pieces of silver showed not only the inflated prices of food in the city, but also displays that the inhabitants were forced to ignore Mosaic dietary laws. The reference to a dove's dung has been debated. While most scholars lean toward an interpretation that the dung was used for a cooking fuel, others speculate that it may have actually been a dietary supplement. In either case, the illustration is made that the siege was causing a great famine in the city and the people were becoming desperate.

    The narrative escalates from unclean foods to the ultimate act of desperation against hunger: cannibalism. This grotesque scene had been foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 28:53, 56-57 and would have been received by the historian's original audience as a symbol of God's displeasure with the disobedience of Israel. When Jehoram first walks into the scene, one of the women approaches him pleading for help. He correctly observes that he can not help but he wrongly implies that God is to blame for the situation that was brought on by Israel's failure to keep the covenant.

    Jehoram's error continues as he goes on to blame Elisha for this situation and makes an oath that he will have the prophet beheaded that very day. He sends an assassin to Elijah's house but we gather from the text that the king soon followed, perhaps because he had come to his senses or perhaps he wished to witness the prophet dead. Elisha, however, knew of the king's intent and had the door barred against the assassin.

    The chapter ends with the scene set for Elisha's prophecy of relief. The king and his entourage stand outside the prophet's door and the king asks why he should wait for the Lord any longer, implying that God was his enemy, there was no hope for deliverance and that confidence in God is a vain effort.

    2Kings 7:1-2 Elisha Predicts Relief

    As chapter 7 begins, Elisha seizes upon the king's lack of hope to once again demonstrate God's sovereignty through a prophetic utterance that within about 24 hours conditions would change to where the unpalatable food that was selling at such exorbitant prices would be replaced by desirable food at reasonable rates. While a shekel of silver for a "seah" (approximately 2/5 of an ounce) of flour was still a bit expensive, it would certainly be a relief from the current circumstance. Surety was given to the prophecy as it was "the word of the Lord."

    As would be expected of a non-believer, one of Jehoram's officers scoffs at the possibility of such an event. His sarcasm implies that even if God were making windows in heaven through which he could drop the food this would be impossible. In response to his arrogance, Elisha tells him that he will witness the fulfillment of the prophecy but will not reap its benefits.

    2Kings 7:3-9 The Abandonment of the Aramean Camp

    The scene now shifts to outside the besieged city's walls. As we discussed in the case of Naaman, leprosy in its various forms resulted in not only poor health but social ostracism as well. Such was the fate of four men who stood outside the city gates. They reasoned among themselves that the best course of action for them to take to have a chance at survival was to go to the Aramean camp and beg for food. With famine within the city and starvation where they sat, it was their only recourse.

    As they entered the camp at dusk they realized that it had been abandoned. The historian now reveals to the reader that God had caused the Aramaens to hear the noise of a great army and they fled, leaving their stores, animals and position intact but unmanned. As a side note, the Hittites that are mentioned in verse 6 were the remnant of a fallen empire in northern Aram that had fallen in 1200BC. One may recall that Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, was a Hittite. Though lost as a people by the time of the New Testament, Ezra 9:1 records them as present after the exile.

    The lepers entered the abandoned camp and began to pillage. The reader can imagine how overjoyed they must have been as they ate and drank while carrying away gold and silver into the night. However, as they continued their pilfering, they had what we may term as an attack of conscience and decided that they should share the good news with the inhabitants of the city.

    2Kings 7:10-15 A Day of Good News

    When the lepers report the condition of the abandoned camp, Jehoram suspects an ambush. Rather than recognizing the fulfillment of Elisha's prophesy, he thinks that the report of the leprous men is a war strategy. However, desperate times call for desperate measures and at the advice of an officer he sends a scouting party of two chariot teams to gather reconnaissance. The report was indeed favorable for the Israelites and the scouts found the camp just as had been reported and with no sign of attack from the now departed enemy.

    2Kings 7:16-20 A Day of Fulfillment

    The conclusion of the chapter records the fulfillment of Elisha's prophecy up to and including the officer who had scoffed at Elisha being trampled to death in the crowd. It should be noted that the historian emphasizes the trustworthiness of God, repeatedly employing phrases such as "according to the word of the LORD," "as the man of God had said," and "it came to pass as the man of God had spoken."
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lecture 9/26/04 continued

    Luke 5:12-16 The Cure of a Leper

    The healing of lepers would have special significance for the Jewish people, as this would be a sign of the messiah. Aside from the Prophetic writings concerning the cure of the sick there is also the account of Elisha healing Naaman. Just as in our Old Testament studies, the term "leprosy" is not specific as to what skin disease is intended but Luke specifies that this case was extensive.

    Lepers were social outcasts in both Jewish and pagan societies. The people of the time had little understanding of these maladies and the ostracizing of this caste, though seemingly inhumane, was a necessary step towards preventing possible epidemics. The modern reader may miss the significance of Jesus actually touching the poor man. To do so would make one "unclean" by interpretation of Leviticus 13:45-46. The pharisaic community would certainly not overlook the act of touching the leper.

    Upon healing the man, Jesus commands him to go to the priests and follow the Law of Moses concerning the curing or passing of a leprous condition. The reasons for doing this may have been one or all of the following reasons:
    1. Jesus was interested in the man's reintegration into society and therefore commands him to be pronounced healthy by the proper authorities.
    2. Jesus may have been demonstrating respect for the Mosaic Law.
    3. The priest's pronouncement of the cure would be an authoritative proclamation of a messianic act.

    In addition to the command to see the priest, Jesus also tells the man not to tell of what had happened to him. It has been speculated that perhaps Jesus did not want His ministry to be widely announced yet as there was much to do before the inevitable trial. There is also a possibility that with His growing fame, the priest would be reluctant to pronounce the cure.
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

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