June - Reading 22

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

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  3. Clint Kritzer

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    Good evening –

    In our reading in 2Kings you will note that at the beginning of chapter 18 we backtrack in time a little bit. Last night we witnessed the fall of Israel, the Northern Kingdom but the reading tonight begins in the third year of Hoshea’s rule. Beginning in the 19th verse we see an excellent demonstration of psychological warfare. The field commander’s oration is designed to rattle the people and demoralize them. Notice the statements in 27 implying a long seige on the mountaintop city of Jerusalem where people would be forced to eat their own filth and drink their own urine. This was a pretty reasonable threat coming from this powerful empire of Assyria. The boast of giving the Nation of Judah 2000 horses in verse 23 shows that Assyria was well aware that Judah did not have the manpower to even fill those saddles. It is also probably no accident that the field commander makes references to Egypt knowing the history of captivity that the Jews had experienced there. More than all this, however, the Assyrians confuse the Living God of Israel with the non-existent gods of the other nations they had conquered. Their blasphemy prevents them from taking Judah. The Babylonians, however, are only a century away.

    In Luke, we read the passage spoken by Christ of loving our enemies, as Jesse pointed out. Love is at the heart of the Christian philosophy and with that comes the giving attitude described in this passage.

    The reading in Phillipians is addressed to the mature believers. Even though one may reach a peace and understanding of the philosophy we embrace, they should never stop seeking. The race is not over until we reach our rewards in Heaven.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture 10/5/03 continued

    Philippians 3

    3:17-21 The Threat of Libertinism


    The opposite extreme of the legalist Judaizers is the libertine antinomians. Merriam –Webster tells us that an antinomian is one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. As the Christian goal is perfection, a goal we will never attain in this life, the human inclination is to just quit. Why even try if we can not reach the mark?

    This extreme is just as much an “enemy of the Cross” as the extreme of legalism. Paul is likely not addressing a problem within the Philippian church as he notes that there are “many” who hold to this view. Just as the threat of Judaism dogged Paul’s steps in the form of the Judaizers, so too did libertinism manifest itself in the Christian community and we see the Apostles warn about it in many New Testament Passages. Romans 16:17-18; 2Peter 2:10

    In the last two lessons, Paul urged his audience to follow the example of Christ, Timothy, Epaphroditus and even himself to counter this movement. The self-serving attitude of the antinomian is counter to the Spirit. While true Christianity is not a moral checklist of behaviors, there is a prevalent morality involved in the philosophy itself. Yes, faith alone Justifies us, but to “work out our own salvation” requires that we continue the race, strain towards the goal, and seek to make ourselves perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect.

    In verse 3:20, Paul makes the distinction that “our” citizenship is in Heaven as opposed to the earthly concerns of the sensualist just mentioned.

    Before continuing, you will note that the KJV uses the word conversation in verse 3:20. Albert Barnes made this commentary on this interpretation:

    We as Christians have our citizenship in Heaven, the New Jerusalem, and we are aliens here on Earth. Hebrews 11:13-16
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson 8/8/04

    2Kings 18-19

    As the 8th century BC enters its final years the Assyrian Empire dominates the political scene of the Middle East. Their warring techniques remain cutting edge for the time and their army has the numbers to back their threats. In an effort to quash potential rebellions in their conquered territories, they adopted the practice of deporting and redistributing populations throughout their empire. The Northern Kingdom of Israel has suffered this fate as a result of their failure to keep the Sinaitic Covenant and Judah in the south has been reduced to a state surrounded by old enemies and new threats. As chapter 16 left off, they, too, have fallen to the apostate practices of Israel and her neighbors under the leadership of Ahaz. Further, Ahaz had established an alliance with the Assyrians in an effort to preserve his vulnerable nation, paying tribute to the Assyrian kings that rose during his reign rather than trusting God. With his death, his son, Hezekiah, rises to the throne.

    The situation to the secular world appears desperate. However, the Historian now relays to us the eternal hope found through the belief in a Sovereign God.

    Chapters 18-25 form the final grouping of Passages in the Book of 2Kings and tell us of the decades of renewal, backsliding, and eventual destruction of the age of kings in Hebrew history. We also witness a time marked with prophetic renewal. The Historian spends a great deal of effort to tell us of Hezekiah's reign and his heavy reliance on Isaiah.

    2Kings 18:1-8 Hezekiah King of Judah

    The accounting of time frames in this part of the Book of 2Kings offers us the most difficult conundrum yet. We will not go into the logic that scholars have used to arrive at a date for Hezekiah's reign at this time but the figure 729 BC is put forth with a bold disclaimer.

    However, despite the ambiguity of the dating of Hezekiah's reign, there is a large collection of archaeological artifacts that confirm his existence and the events recorded in the Bible about his reign.
    http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/rr2004/r&r0403a.htm

    Hezekiah stands out in the Scriptures as one of the only Hebrew kings that receives a good deuteronomical review with no qualifications. The only other is Josiah in chapter 22. Asa and Jehoshaphat were also noted as good kings but they are qualified as not removing the high places. Hezekiah, however, "walked in the ways of his father David" and purged his land of the pagan altars and idols. He even went so far as to break the bronze snake Moses had made to save the Israelites from snakes that had come among them in Numbers 21:8-9. The people had fallen into the practice of venerating the object breaking the command of Exodus 23:24.

    Hezekiah's uniqueness lay in the fact that he had such a strong faith, an unyielding trust, in the Lord. Josiah's reign will be marked with his strong adherence to the Mosaic Law.

    2Kings 18:9-12 The Siege of Samaria

    The Historian uses these four verses to look back one last time at the fate of the Northern Kingdom. He has now reminded his audience of why the exile had occurred and it prepares the reader to contrast the actions of Israel against the actions of King Hezekiah in the coming narrative.

    2Kings 18:13-37 The Sennacherib Crisis

    Map: http://www.anova.org/sev/atlas/htm/074.htm

    While for the purposes of this commentary I have headed this section with reference to the Assyrian campaigns against Judah, it should also be noted that a new cycle is also beginning that scholars call the "Isaiah Tradition." This cycle will continue through 20:19 and centers around the actions of the well-versed and creative prophet, Isaiah. Indeed, chapters 36 and 37 of Isaiah give a poetic account of the story that follows.

    In verse 13 we see Sennacherib, the son of Tiglath Pileser III and brother of Shalmaneser V, waging a full-scale campaign against the territories west of Judah and into her borders. Hezekiah had stopped paying the tribute started by his father, Ahaz, to Assyria and Sennacherib felt justified in attacking the small nation. In an effort to dissuade the Assyrian conquerors from continuing their attack, Hezekiah sent a message to the besieged city of Lachish offering to pay tribute to the conquerors. Sennacherib replied that he would accept three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold, a very high ransom. In an effort to meet the demands of the Assyrians, Hezekiah even stripped the hammered gold off of the doors of the Temple doors.

    In verse 17 we see that after some time the Assyrian tribute was not paid or was no longer effective or possibly was not enough. Sennacherib sent a large military contingent from Lachish to Jerusalem in order to conquer it. While Judah under Hezekiah was gaining great military strength, they were quite outclassed by the Assyrian war machine. The leaders of the Assyrian forces called for Hezekiah to come out to them but instead he sent three of his chief staff members to the meeting.

    The address of the Assyrians in 19-25 is a well thought out form of psychological warfare. In the presence of common soldiers and citizenry on the wall overlooking the invaders, they spoke in Hebrew a long soliloquy of taunts. From verse 22 we see that Hezekiah had called on the Egyptians for aid in the crisis but the Assyrian leader told them that Egypt was a broken reed that would pierce their hand if they leaned on it. We will see in chapter 19 that though Egypt never came to Judah's aid, they did help affect the siege on Jerusalem.

    Secondly, the Assyrian's address attempts to put a wedge between Hezekiah and the people by suggesting that Hezekiah's religious reformation of removing the high places had actually been an act against God. The pagan invaders had obviously learned of the religious revival in Jerusalem and were trying to use it against the Jews.

    The third taunt came in the form of offering two thousand chariots equipped with horses if the Judean army had enough men to man them. The Assyrian intelligence about the small number of horsemen in Jerusalem had given them another intimidation technique.

    In verse 25 the reference to Sennacherib receiving instruction from the Lord is likely a reference to a common practice of the time of leaders conferring with local gods when they came into a new land.

    When Hezekiah's men ask the leader to speak in Aramaic rather than Hebrew, the taunts continue. The leader indicates that the population of Judah had every right to hear what was said as they would be the ones who shared in the suffering. He then turns to the people on the wall and tells them twice not to listen to their king. He promises them that if they surrender they will be led away to a land of plenty and would save their lives. He further insists that since no other gods of the region had protected their people, why would Yahweh protect them? It is at this juncture that we see the fault of the Assyrian logic. He thought he could equate the false gods with the One True God.

    The people responded with silence as an indication of their repudiation. The Assyrian propaganda that sought to distance the king from his people had failed. However, the threats that the Assyrians posed was still quite real and Hezekiah's officials returned to him with torn clothes, a symbol of the anguish they felt.

    2Kings 19:1-4 Hezekiah's Reaction

    Upon hearing the message from the Assyrians, Hezekiah also tears his clothes and puts on sackcloth. However, unlike many of the kings before him in similar situations, Hezekiah then goes to the Temple. He also has his officials seek out Isaiah, a known prophet of the Lord. This is a refreshing change from the many kings who had to be approached by the prophets. Instead, we now see a man of faith seeking God's guidance for himself and his people.

    Hezekiah describes the day as being one of "distress, rebuke, and disgrace. (KJV- trouble, rebuke and blasphemy)." This description shows the high anxiety felt by the king and may show his concern that God was going to cast off His people in Judah just as He had in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Hezekiah wisely asks that the prophet pray for "the remnant." This term may be in reference to all of Judah, the remaining two tribes of Jacob's sons, or it may indicate that Jerusalem alone remained against the Assyrian onslaught. In either case, the situation appeared quite bleak.

    2Kings 19:5-7 Isaiah's Promise

    Isaiah responds to Hezekiah's messengers by telling them of two historical events that would occur in retaliation to the Assyrian's blasphemy: (1) Sennacherib would hear a rumor that would cause him to return to Ninevah and (2) he would die there in a violent act. We are never told what the rumor actually was though some feel that it refers to the report of the Egyptians coming in verse 9 was false intelligence.

    2Kings 19:8-13 The Retreat of the Assyrians

    In verse 8 we learn that when the field commander who had taunted the Judeans in 18:19-25 returned to rejoin Sennacherib at Libnah (probably near Lachish) to offer aid. The battle in the west had begun to go badly for the Assyrians and Sennacherib received intelligence that the Cushite king of Egypt was marching up the coast of Palestine to engage him. We are never told what the rumor of verse 7 actually was though some feel that it refers to the report of the Egyptians coming in verse 9 was false intelligence.
    In either case, Sennacherib had to delay his attack on Jerusalem and so he sent messengers to Jerusalem once again to continue the psychological warfare.

    This time the taunts come in the form of a letter and once again the Assyrian conqueror makes the mistake of equating the false gods with the One True God.

    2Kings 19:14-19 Hezekiah's Prayer

    Hezekiah responds by taking the letter with him to the Temple and kneeling before, we assume, the Ark of the Covenant. It is remarkable that with all of the repeated looting of the Temple that the relic would still remain but in verse 15, Hezekiah refers to God as being enthroned between the cherubim (Exodus 25:22; 1Samuel 4:4). The humble act of Hezekiah bringing the problems of his nation before God demonstrate the simple faith of a man who believed firmly in the intervention of a Sovereign God in the lives of men and nations.

    One of the more notable attributes of the prayer is that Hezekiah rightly notes that the result of God's intervention would be so that all nations would recognize that the Lord was the One True God. The deliverance of Judah was secondary.

    2Kings 19:20-34 Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib's Fall

    In response to Hezekiah's prayer, Isaiah sends an unsolicited message from God to the king. The prophet speaks for God and tells him that the Assyrians will be judged for their arrogance and ridiculing of God's people. The reference to "virgin" Jerusalem was a common poetic metaphor of the time and was especially significant in this instance as it demonstrates that the city would remain unviolated. The designation of God as "the Holy One of Israel" in verse 22 is a strong indication of the authenticity of this portion of the Scriptures being a direct quote from Isaiah as uses the term extensively in the Book that bears his name. The reference to "drying up the streams in Egypt" is likely a taunt at Sennacherib, as he never successfully conquered that land.

    Verses 25-28 are a strong witness to the sovereignty of God and the control he has over history. No armies are victorious unless God Himself ordains it. Christ repeated this testimony to Pilate when He had his audience at the trial (John 19:10-11).

    In verse 29, the Lord's message through Isaiah turns to Hezekiah. The king is told that for two years the people must forage and eat what plants grew up volunteer or from second seeding. In the third year, however, the siege would lift and the people would plant and harvest.

    The prophecy ends with the assurance that the Assyrians would not be successful in conquering Jerusalem. In fact, they would not even shoot a single arrow into it. It would be saved for the sake of the Lord and the sake of David.

    2Kings 19:37 The Fate of Sennacherib

    The night after Isaiah's prophecy, an angel went into the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 troops. The Historian is not specific about how these deaths occurred but is careful to attribute it to God. With the loss of so substantial a number of men, he ends his campaign and returns to Ninevah.

    Some time later, he dies while worshipping in a false temple to a false god. Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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