June - Reading 23

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    I would like to start with our reading of Luke this evening. The passage cited in our schedule has to do with the judgement of others. I have always been a little amused by the exageration of a "beam" in someone's eye. This overstatement sets up a pretty funny mental image for me.

    What struck me about our reading in Philippians tonight is the way that it tied back to the reading in 2Kings. Paul wrote, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." In 2Kings we see Hezehiah praying in 20:2 humbly and with his face to the wall. In verse 5 Isaiah reports to Hezekiah, "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you." I think that many folks read of the Sovereignty of God and ask themselves why should they even bother to pray. Both of these passages tonight show that prayer fits into the Plan that God has. In fact, Sovereignty does not abolish the need for prayer, but rather it justifies and confirms it.

    Further in 2Kings we read of the visit from the Babylonian emmisaries. Hezekiah is a bit too friendly with these men and it is probable that he wanted to show the wealth of his nation to sweeten a deal with the Babylonians concerning an alliance. I will also add that the tunnel mentioned at the end of cahpter 20 is still in existence and in 1700 feet long, varies from 3 2/3 feet to 11 1/2 feet tall, and averages 2 feet in width.
    We then read in chapter 21 of the longest reign of any king of Judah or Israel, Mannaseh. This king began his reign as a juvenile and was a very corrupt idol worshipping man. It cannot be confirmed by anything other than Jewish tradition but he may have even gone so far as sawing Isaiah in half. Throughout our reading of the Old Testament, we have seen a history of covenant breaking on the part of the Jewish people. 21:10-16 attests to the fact that God will not relent from His anger now. Isaiah himself has prophesied of the Babylonian capture of Judah 115 years before the event.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture 10/12/03

    Philippians 4:1-9

    4:1-3 Exhortation to Stand Firm in Unity – Euodia and Syntyche


    Paul was a master of transitions in his Letters. Verse 1 exemplifies this in that it may well be applied to Paul’s exhortation of the Philippian’s Heavenly citizenship or it may be applied to the following exhortations.

    We glean from verses 2 that two women in the Philippian church, Euodia and Syntyche, were experiencing a dispute that had become common knowledge and it was in danger of breaking down the unity of the congregation. We know nothing more about these women nor what their dispute was. The fact that Paul does not take sides indicates that the issue was not doctrinal but was more likely a personality conflict. It is significant that Paul has laid such firm groundwork in the preceding chapters on ways to attain unity before addressing this issue. His solution relates back to chapter 2:2-11. These women were told to “agree in the Lord” or as the KJV phrases it, “be of the same mind in the Lord.”

    In verse 3 a third party is called upon to intervene. The translation, “true companion” or “yolkfellow,” is believed by some scholars to be a proper name. It is apparent that both of these women as well as others labored with Paul in his ministry. This is hardly surprising, as women were the first to receive Paul in Philippi. Acts 16:13

    The Book of Life mentioned in verse 3 is the Heavenly Register of those who are saved. This Book is mentioned in both Old and New Testaments. Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5

    4:4-9 Exhortation to Maintain Christian Virtues – The Peace of God

    Paul now moves to an encouragement to maintain certain Christian values.

    First we are told to rejoice.

    Though joy or rejoicing is a major theme of the Letter, such joy is set against anxiety. Therefore, secondly, we are to show “reasonableness.” “Reasonableness” or the KJV “moderation” is difficult to interpret in a single word. The connotation also carries “forbearance,” “gentleness,” “consideration,” “thoughtfulness,” or “graciousness.” This attribute should be aware to all people, believers and pagans alike. This command is hardly unique to this Epistle as we see in 1Thessalonians 5:16-18.

    The phrase “the Lord is at hand” can be taken to mean that God is near us as believers but it is more likely that it refers to an eschatological understanding. We as Christians must be ever ready for the Return of our Master.

    Thirdly, we are told to be prayerful rather than anxious (KJV – careful). This parallels quite nicely Matthew 6:31-34. Once we put our trust in God, we are guarded against anxiety with the peace that surpasses human understanding. This peace is first possessed by God and then bestowed upon us as believers. We acquire it through thanksgiving and supplication. Supplication is requesting things humbly.

    Fourth, we as Christians are instructed to keep our minds on things that are virtuous. Paul lists examples of things that are:
    1. True – in ecvery sense of the word
    2. Honorable (honest) – worthy of honor or reverence
    3. Just – what is upright or righteous
    4. Pure – more than chaste; stainless
    5. Lovely – love-inspiring; pleasing; attractive; or worthy of being loved
    6. Commendable (good report) – gracious; fair speaking

    Paul then shifts to a conditional sentence. We are to think about things where there is excellence (goodness) or things worthy of praise (in Pauline thought - what God would praise). He then goes on to tell his readers to not only think, but “do.”

    It should be noted at this point that the word “finally” in verse 8 has been taken by some as the ending of another part of a composite of three Letters that make up Philippians. This theory is supported in our next Passage.

    continued
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson 8/15/04

    2Kings 20-21

    Scholars seem to be in complete agreement that chapter 20 of 2Kings fits chronologically before chapters 18-19 which relay to us the story of the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib. The stories of Hezekiah's illness and recovery and the account of his pride before the Babylonian emissaries serve as an appendix to the account of his life and a precursor to the rise of the Babylonian Empire and the drastic effect they would have on Judah in 586 BC.

    The account is supplemented by a study of 2Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 37- 38. The political background to the stories is found in a historical study of the last half of the 8th century BC.

    2Kings 20:1-11 Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery

    Accepting the well supported premise that chapter 20 precedes chapters 18:13 and 19, and reckoning his death to be in 686 BC, we can assume that Hezekiah was about 37 or 38 years old as the narrative opens. Upon hearing the prophecy of his death from the prophet Isaiah, Hezekiah responds with prayer. The Scriptures are not specific as to what the malady was, except to say that it was terminal.

    He turns his face to the wall as he begins his prayer. There are several different lines of interpretation as to why the sick king performed this gesture. He may have been seeking to face the Temple, as was the practice of the Jews in those times (1Kings 8:38-39). Perhaps he was attempting to avoid all distractions in the room. He may also have been seeking solitude with God in the same spirit of Christ's command in Matthew 6:6. In any case, the Scriptures record for us an informal petition by a faithful man to a God that he addresses personally. Hezekiah uses the term that our translators render as "LORD" which denotes the covenant name, Jehovah, that the Lord had given the Israelites in Exodus.

    The prayer itself is not a plea for Divine intervention because of Hezekiah's good works, but rather represents the acknowledgment that God favors those that serve Him earnestly. Hezekiah reminds God of his faithfulness in both deeds and conduct. He then weeps bitterly (KJV - sorely).

    The reader is left to speculate as to why the king wept. Certainly, the ending of his life in his late 30s would be cause to grieve. He may have also felt that his reforms had not been properly established. There may have been a concern on his part concerning the Davidic Covenant, as he had not yet had a male heir to ascend the throne. We can only imagine the thoughts that went through the mind of the king as he lay there facing the wall. God had made a decree that the king would die and such a proclamation could only be recalled by God Himself.

    Like some prayers are, Hezekiah's was answered immediately. God spoke to Isaiah as he was leaving the palace. He instructed the prophet to go back to Hezekiah and assure him that an additional fifteen years would be added to his life. He further adds that Judah would be protected from Assyria and her other enemies during Hezekiah's reign. The reference to Hezekiah going to the Temple on the third day is a reminder to us that we not only offer our petitions to God, but our gratitude as well. Isaiah then orders that a balm of figs and poultice (a soft mixture of some type of grain) be applied to a boil that was on Hezekiah. Though God does the healing of the sick, known remedies are not to be ignored (James 5:14).

    Hezekiah wished for a sign to assure him that Isaiah's prophetic revelation was accurate. Seeking signs in the Old Testament was a common practice and these sign often accompanied prophecies. In response, Isaiah gives Hezekiah a choice of witnessing the shadow cast by the sun moving forward ten steps (KJV - degrees) or backward ten steps. Hezekiah chooses the more difficult of the two signs that he may be assured. Isaiah then calls upon God and the shadow on the steps (KJV - dial) of Ahaz went back ten steps.

    This is, of course, a curious Passage. We are unsure as to what exactly transpired here except to say that God seemingly suspended the natural laws of nature in order that Hezekiah would have his sign. The "steps (or dial) of Ahaz" is supposed by some, such as the KJV translators, to be a time keeping device. It is also a defensible position that these steps were an architectural feature on the house of Ahaz. Further, the vehicle through which God made the shadow move ten degrees, or steps, is commonly speculated to be a partial eclipse that occurred on January 11, 689 BC. These particulars are not important to the Historian, the original audience, nor to the modern reader. What is important is that God answered Hezekiah's request that a miraculous sign be made in affirmation of the prophecy.

    2Kings 20:12-19 The Babylonian Overture to Judah

    At this juncture, the reader should be made aware of the political changes that had occurred in the Middle East in the years 721 to 703 BC. Please note that the dates given may vary by one or two years depending upon the line of scholarship followed.

    The Assyrian war machine had conquered the city-state of Babylon in 728 BC under the leadership of Tiglath Pileser III. At that time the Assyrian king claimed title to the throne of the conquered city. In 721 BC the Chaldean born Merodach-Baladan II successfully rebelled against the Assyrians and claimed independence for his nation for a dozen years or so. He was then deposed by Sargon II in 710 or 709 BC. He escaped their punishment for some time, however, by hiding in the salt marshes and once again reclaimed the throne and independence of Babylon after the death of Sargon II in 703 BC. This reign only lasted half a year when the usurper was forced to flee Sennacherib in 702 BC. We find this Babylonian prince also in Isaiah 39:1 where he is called Berodach-baladan.

    Though we can not state a date with absolute certainty, most scholars believe that the narrative of 2Kings 20:12-19 occurred during Merodach-Baladan's first reign as he sought allies in his defense of Babylon against Assyria.

    2Kings 20:12-15 Hezekiah's Naïveté

    The news of Hezekiah's recovery and, according to 2Chronicles 32:31, the miraculous astronomical event reached far east to Babylon. King Merodach-Baladan therefore sent messengers to meet Hezekiah with a gift. We know from history that the pagan king's primary motivation was likely an attempt to gain another ally against Assyria. Hezekiah, however, felt a swelling of pride that travelers would come from so far to see him. As pride does to men, it made Hezekiah boastful and he showed the envoys all the treasures in Jerusalem.

    2Kings 20:16-19 The Prophetic Judgment on Naïve Statesmanship

    Upon hearing of the envoy's visit, Isaiah approaches Hezekiah and asks what had transpired. The proud king informs the prophet that he had shown the messengers everything in the Temple and the palace. Isaiah then speaks an oracle that states that this action would result in all of the treasures that remained in the Capitol city would be carried off to Babylon. Further, some of Hezekiah's descendants would also be carried off and some of those would become eunuchs in service to the king of Babylon.

    Certainly one of the most remarkable characteristics of this prophecy was that Isaiah's revelation was reaching more than a century into the future. The beginning of the prophecy, however, would begin in the very next generation as Manasseh was carried into captivity by the Assyrians and held in Babylon (2Chronicles 33:11).

    Hezekiah's response to the prophecy, "the word of the Lord which you have spoken is good," seems strange to the modern ear. Indeed some have interpreted the statement as more selfish pride in that the events foretold would not occur in his lifetime. However, it seems more favorable to read the statement as Hezekiah's gratitude that there would be those years of peace before the judgment and an acceptance of the justice of the prophecy.

    2Kings 20:20-21 The Deuteronomic Evaluation of Hezekiah

    All in all, Hezekiah's reign was one of faith and obedience. He was laid to rest with honor among his fathers. The pool and tunnel mentioned here in the Scriptures is considered one of the engineering marvels of the ancient world.

    http://www.bibleplaces.com/heztunnel.htm

    2Kings 21:1-18 Manasseh King of Judah

    Upon the death of Hezekiah, his son, Manasseh ascended to the throne. Though the Historian only spends 18 verses on his reign, these fifty-five years mark the longest reign of any king in Judah, though the first ten years are believed to be a co-regency with Hezekiah. These were decades of apostasy and a reversal of the reforms enacted by his father.

    The Historian goes into great detail to describe the abominable practices of Manasseh, including rebuilding the high places, erecting altars to Baal, erecting Asherah poles, and, most atrociously, making his children "walk through the fire." He also worshipped astronomical bodies, practiced divination and consulted pagan mystics. All of these acts provoked God's wrath.

    Manasseh even went so far as to place Asherah poles in the Temple. In every way possible, it seems, Manasseh turned from God and the Covenant He had made with the people of Israel.

    Therefore, God spoke through the prophets that He would punish Judah by handing her over to her enemies. At the end of his reign, Mannaseh died and was buried in the palace gardens, leaving behind an ill-fated nation.

    2Kings 21:19-26 Amon King of Judah

    Manasseh's son, Amon, became king after his death. Amon acted exactly as his father had done in the previous fifty-five years. His reign lasted only two years before his officials assassinated him.

    The die had now been cast that Judah would suffer the fate of her sister, Israel. The end was inevitable but as chapter 22 opens, we will see one last glimmer of hope as an eight-year-old boy named Josiah ascends to the throne of an apostate nation.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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