June - Reading 20

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

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    Good evening -

    I certainly wouldn't want to take a test on the myriad of names we read tonight in 2 Kings. The text covers about 56 years and in all that time, no king destroys the pagan shrines in the high places. We will be reading more in depth on many of these same characters when we get to 2Chronicles.

    In Luke we read the passage dealing with Christ as the Lord of the Sabbath. The story of David which Chist cites is found in 1Samuel 21. One of the things I like about this reading plan is that the Old Testament stories stay relatively fresh in our minds as we read the Gospels and Epistles. It is my hope that this program will continue next year so that the Books of Prophecy will also be fresh when we get to the History books again.

    In Phillipians Paul's central message for this part of the Letter is that he was once self-centered as a Pharisee but he became Christ-centered after his conversion.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture 10/5/03

    Philippians 3:1-11

    For review, we have covered the following Passages thus far in the Letter to the Philippians:

    1. Greeting 1:1-2
    2. Thanksgiving 1:3-8
    3. Prayer 1:9-11
    4. Events in Rome 1:12-26
    a. The Gospel preached in prison 12-14
    b. Friends and foes called to action 15-18
    c. Circumstances lead to salvation 19-26
    5. First series of exhortations 1:27 – 2:11
    a. Unity in view of hostility 1:27-30
    b. Unity and humility towards others in the church with the Supreme example of Christ 2:1-11
    c. Working out their salvation 2:12-13
    6. Example of Paul poured out as a libation 14-18
    7. Example of Timothy’s concern for others 19-24
    8. Example of Epaphroditus risking his life 25-30

    Today, we will be examining Paul’s warnings against distorted religion. It is generally agreed among scholars that there are two groups being singled out by Paul: the Judaizers and the antinomians.

    3:1-11 - Confidence in the flesh vs. Knowledge of Christ

    The word “finally” in verse 1 has led some to speculate that this verse was the conclusion to a first Letter and the abrupt introduction of the “dogs” in verse 2 the beginning of a new one. As we discussed last week, communication was occurring somewhat frequently between Paul’s jail and the church in Philippi so it could also be conjectured that Paul reopened the Letter before sending it with these new thoughts. For those who reject this compilation theory, the word finally is not interpreted as “lastly” but rather “furthermore” or “in addition.”

    In verse 2 and 3 we can safely assume that Paul is warning of the Judaizers who believed in the legalistic approach to salvation through works, though we can not clearly rule out the pure Jewish proselytes who were not converted. Either way, Paul denounces this group as “dogs” a term that almost always denotes reproach in the Bible. We see examples of this in 1Samuel 17:43 and Matthew 7:6. It is possible that Paul is using this terminology as this was a derogatory slur that the Jews had for Gentiles.

    To be fair to our four footed friends, however, we do know that dogs were kept as pets in Biblical times from Matthew 15:26-27.

    This was a time in history that stark division was growing between Jewish and Gentile Christians. This tension would certainly have been felt in a strongly Romanesque community such as Philippi in that the first Jewish-Roman war broke out in 66 AD culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The church during these years moved from an almost exclusively Jewish base as we see in James to an increasingly Gentile atmosphere that has endured to the present.

    In verse 4 Paul confronts a hypothetical charge by his opponents that he may be jealous of their fleshly accomplishments. If any of these people may claim that they were superior because of their Jewish heritage, Paul sets forth that he was a Jew’s Jew! He was:

    1. Circumcised on the eighth day in accordance with the command given to Abraham
    2. Of the lineage of the Tribe of Benjamin, one of the two tribes that remained loyal to the House of David.
    3. A Pharisee
    4. One who, in his former zeal, persecuted the church (Acts 9:11-13; 21)
    5. Blameless under the Law of Moses

    Despite his lineage and former accomplishments, Paul counted these “gains” as a “loss” for the sake of Christ. Through the revelation of his own conversion, Paul recognized these things as “rubbish” or as the KJV states, “dung”. He recognized that these things that he counted as merit were in actuality a detriment. Though the righteousness “of his own” may have seemed perfect to men, it fell miserably short of the perfection that God demands. It is through the perfection “found in Christ” that Paul would attain resurrection from the dead.

    It should be noted here that Paul’s goal continued to be righteousness throughout his life. Before the conversion on the Damascus Road, he felt that it could be through human means. Afterwards, he knew it could only come through Christ.

    continued

    [ June 20, 2005, 07:04 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lesson 7/25/04
    2Kings 14-15


    In today's lesson, we begin a relatively large section of the Book of 2Kings that deals primarily with the decades of bitterness and defeat in Judah. Elisha, the great prophet of Israel, is now dead and in his wake arise a number of what we refer to as "the written prophets." While a cursory reading of the text of today's lesson may seem to be a long list of historical record, in order to gain a clear evaluation of the events unfolding the reader should cross-reference his research with 2Chronicles 25-28, the Books of Amos, Hosea, and selected Passages of Isaiah as well as extra-biblical sources such as the annals of Tiglathpileser III and Shalmaneser IV, rulers of Assyria. Even the prophet Jonah is mentioned in the reading. Though the Book that bears his name makes no mention of the events happening in the Divided Kingdoms, the reference does help us date the Book of Jonah. While we will not be conducting an exhaustive search of these resources, the reader should be aware that the text before him is merely a part of the history.

    Our story opens in 14:1 at the turn of the 8th century BC, specifically, 796. By the final turn of the page at 15:38, we have covered eight decades of Israel and Judah's history. The political climate of the entire Middle East is turbulent and in flux and the events relayed to us by the Historian reflect those changes.

    2Kings 14:1-7 Amaziah King of Judah

    Chapter 12 concluded with the death of Joash in Judah and chapter 13 shifted focus back to Israel. The Historian now returns us to Judah as we witness Amaziah, son of Joash, ascend the throne at twenty-five years of age. His mother, Jehoaddin, was not a foreign, pagan bride, but a woman of Israel and the deuteronomic evaluation of the twenty-nine year reign is good, but not as good as David's. Just as Joash, his father, had done he started out well but he did not persevere. The "high places," the unsanctioned areas of worship, remained active during his rule.

    The first act we see him carrying out is the execution of the assassins who murdered his father. One may recall that Joash was killed by Jozabad and Jehozabad in response to the stoning of Jehoiada the high priest's son, Zecharia. The Historian is then quick to add that he did not execute the assassin's sons and attributes this principle of justice to Amaziah's adherence to the Mosaic Law by quoting Deuteronomy 24:16. While we see some examples of punishment for sin spanning generations in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:5), overall the teachings we find lean towards individualism (Ezekiel 18; Jeremiah 31:29-30).

    Next, in verse 7, we find Amaziah temporarily regaining some control over the Edomites. The defeat of an obviously vast army in the Valley of Salt mirrors David's defeat of the Edomites in the same location in 2Samuel 8:13, 1Chronicles 18:12 and Psalm 60. The city of Sela which he renamed Joktheel is believed to be the Edomite stronghold south of the Dead Sea known today as Petra in the modern nation of Jordan.

    2Kings 14:8-16 The Occasion for War

    In verse 8, however, we begin to see the human pride of Amaziah begin to surface. Confident from his victory over the Edomites, he sends a challenge to Jehoash, the king of Israel to come meet him face to face. Though the Historian is not specific as to why the challenge was issued, 2Chronicles 25:10 & 13 hint that it may have been in retaliation to the acts of mercenaries hired by Judah returning to Israel.

    Jehoash replied to the arrogant king's challenge with a fable about a thistle that demanded a marriage with a cedar tree's daughter only to be trampled by an animal in the forest before a reply could come. The meaning of the fable was clear and Jehoash warned Amaziah to leave Israel alone.

    The reader may recall that in chapter 13, Israel's army was little more than a police force as the nation weakened after Jehu's death and Jehoahaz's poor leadership against the Aramaens. Now under Jehoash the army had been built back up as God had honored his Covenant with the Patriarchs (2Kings 13:22-23). Amaziah persisted, however, and his army was routed at Beth Shemesh, a town merely 15 miles or so outside of the capitol city of Jerusalem. Amaziah was captured and marched back to Samaria as a prisoner of war and the Israeli king turned east to Jerusalem and broke down 400 cubits (approximately 200 yards) of the northwestern wall of the city. He then proceeded to loot the Temple. His haul may not have been that great as Joash just a few years before had taken many of the valuables out of the Temple to pay off Hazael (12:17-18) so Jehoash also took hostages in order to supplement his spoils.

    The historian takes this opportunity to close the narrative of Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel with the common formula referring the reader to other texts for more information and announces Jeroboam II ascension to the throne.

    2Kings 14:17-22 A Summary of Amaziah's Reign

    Shifting his focus quickly back onto Amaziah, the Historian also concludes the Judean king's story in these six verses. We see that he outlived Jehoash by fifteen years and was released from his captivity at some undetermined time. Verse 14:19 is supplemented by 2Chronicles 25:27 where we read that the conspiracy against him resulted from his turning away from the Lord. His assassins pursued him and he fled to the fortified city of Lachish where he met his end. As was customary for the kings of Judah, he was returned to Jerusalem where he was interred with his fathers.

    It should also be noted that the act of releasing Amaziah might have created strong political tension in Judah as well. Verse 21 that speaks of the people of Judah making Azariah king may be referring to an event that happened during Amaziah's captivity. That Azariah rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah shows that Azariah continued the conquest of Edom by Amaziah.

    2Kings 14:23-29 Jeroboam II King of Israel

    We now enter a section of the Scriptures that describe the succession of eight evil kings in Israel marking a sharp contrast to the good kings in Judah. Despite his enormous political and military success, the Historian all but ignores the accomplishments of Jeroboam II. He expanded Israel's borders as far as they had been since the time of David and brought prosperity that had not been seen since the time of Omri. The relative peace of his forty-one-year reign stands in stark contrast to the turmoil and bloodshed that would follow.

    The light treatment given to Jeroboam is not an oversight by the Historian. He is quick to attribute this political, military, and economic success to the Lord and His steadfastness in light of the Abrahamic Covenant. Elijah had promised the defeat of Aram to his father, Jehoash. That he would reign at all had been promised to Jehu, his grandfather. Despite the continuing and even escalating apostasy of the Israelites, God remained faithful to His Promise. God can even use the unfaithful to bring about His Purposes.

    2Kings 15:1-7 Azariah King of Judah

    Chapter 15 begins with the events of 762 BC. Jeroboam has been on the throne in Samaria for 20 years and Judah is now also entering a revival of their golden age. Just as with his father, Amaziah, Azariah is given a mixed review. Though he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, he still allowed the high places to remain and the paganism that they bred continued to grow. Scholars have wrestled with the length of "fifty-two years" for Azariah's reign and the most satisfactory conclusion is that he coreigned with his father, Amaziah, 24 years and later with his son, Jotham, 10 years. God affected Azariah with some form of leprosy. According to 2Chronicles 26:16-21 this was in response to his usurping the priestly function of burning incense in the Temple. As a result, the afflicted king became a recluse living in a "separate (KJV-several) house." He put his son, Jotham, on the throne as a co-regent but the power of the throne likely stayed in the control of Azariah. Azariah died in 740 BC and was buried with his fathers in Jerusalem.

    2Kings 5:8-12 Zechariah King of Israel

    Going back now to the Northern Kingdom in the year 753 BC, the Historian tells us of Zechariah, king of Israel. Not much can be said of his reign as it only lasted six months before he was assassinated. Nonetheless, that he had come to the throne fulfilled God's promise to Jehu that his dynasty would last four generations. Elisha's final prophecy is thus fulfilled.

    2Kings 5:13-16 Shallum King of Israel

    Zechariah's assassin, Shallum the son of Jabesh, became king for a mere month. It should be noted at this point that in verse 13 the name "Uzziah" is another name for Azariah and is used not only in 2Kings but in 2Chronicles, Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, Zechariah, and Matthew. Like Shallum, Menahem the assassin became king in his stead. There must have been some loyalty to Shallum by the people because the Scriptures note that they resisted Menahem. In response, the new king sacked the cities he subdued and commited the terrible atrocity attributed to the pagan enemies of Israel: he ripped open the pregnant women. Though a common practice by some of Israel's enemies, the act was as reprehensible to the Historian's original audience as it is to us today.

    2Kings 15:17-22 Menahem King of Israel

    The evil king Menahem remained on the throne for ten years and as may be expected from our introduction to him, his deuteronomic evaluation is not favorable. His reign is marked by sin and continuing apostasy. In addition, the Historian tells us that he paid off Pul, the king of Assyria by taxing his wealthier subjects and surrendering a very large sum of money to him.

    In order to gain a clearer understanding of the events unfolding before us a note about the Assyrians should be inserted at this point. Pul is another name for the Assyrian king Tiglathpileser III who gained control of his empire in 745 BC. His predecessors, though somewhat formidable, did not match the military might that the new ruler would wield. Assyria's attacks on Aram had allowed Jeroboam to regain control of much of his northern neighbors as they weakened against the onslaught. Now under the new regime, Assyria was boldly pushing westward toward total control of the Mediterranean coast. This was the beginning of the end for the Northern Kingdom, though Judah, soon to enter a spiritual revival, held fast for nearly another century and a half. Once again, we see secular sources confirm the Biblical account and the Historian's contention confirmed that obedience brings blessing while disobedience brings punishment.

    2Kings 15:23-26 Pekahiah King of Israel

    After Menahem's death, his son, Pekahiah, succeeded him. This was another short reign of only two years before this evil king, too, was assassinated. The assassin this time was a military commander under his rule named Pekah. We can speculate that foreign policy may have played some role in the conspiracy against Pekahiah and that is why Pekah could gain support of other military men. Pekahiah likely followed his father's policy of friendship with the Assyrians to maintain power while according to Isaiah 7, Pekah sought alliance with Aram, Assyria's enemy, in order to become a conqueror himself. The final verses of this chapter support this theory.

    2Kings 15:27-31 Pekah King of Israel

    Pekah ascended to the Israeli throne but just as the man he assassinated, he receives a bad review. His ten year reign is also marked by the sins of Jeroboam I. God now allows the covenant punishment of Israel to begin (Deuteronomy 28:36). Tiglathpileser III marches down from the north taking cities north of the Sea of Galilee as they come and deport the inhabitants back to Assyria. In response, Pekah is attacked by Hoshea who assassinates him and succeeds him to the throne.

    Hoshea's story picks up again in chapter 17 and will end with the total conquest of the Kingdom of Israel.

    2Kings 15:32-38 Jotham King of Judah

    The Scripture today ends with a final look south at Judah. Jotham ascends the throne at the age of twenty-five and receives a qualitative good review, despite his allowance of the high places remaining. The only event recorded by the Historian of the sixteen-year reign of Jotham is the rebuilding of the Upper Gate on the Temple.

    However, in the final verses he notes that at this time Rezin of Aram and Pekah of Israel began an attempt to conquer Judah. God through the use of the Assyrians had other plans for the two would be conquerors.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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