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Showing posts from September, 2014

What Happens After the Coach is Gone

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The trouble with Chronicles is that the book repeats much of the information that I have already read in the book of Kings. So I feel that history is repeating itself as I read—and so are the lessons that jump out from the page! That in itself tells me something. If I wondered why God would allow so much repetition, I am reminded that repetition is a good teaching tool and that some things need to be repeated occasionally so that people understand their importance.

Take the story of Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26. I’ve read this before—and commented on it. Still it leaps out from the passage at me.

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:4, 5).

This morning I took note of a little letter written beside the word “fear” in verse 5. Apparently many of the manuscripts containing this verse use the wor…

Partnerships

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It wasn’t just a New Testament phenomena. Paul, writing to the Corinthians church, said: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an  unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘Therefore come out from them and be separate, Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you’” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, got the same message from the Lord, recorded for us in 2 Chronicles 18, after his alliance with Ahab, king of Israel. The king of Judah narrowly escaped with his life after that experience—Ahab wasn’t so fortunate. After his return to Jerusalem, this message was waiting for Judah's l…

Teach It, Preach It, Pray It, Live It

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…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” writes the prophet in Hosea 4:6 (NIV). The entire chapter is terrifying in its condemnation, but this one phrase came to mind as I read 2 Chronicles 17 this morning. The chapter describes the early years of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.  Those were good years because Jehoshaphat followed the Lord (17:3-6). One of the items on the king’s “to-do” list is described in verses 7 to 9 where we are told that he sent his officials, along with Levites and priests, to the outlying areas of the country. Their task is described this way: “They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns and taught the people.”

Jehoshaphat’s father, Asa, had been delivered a message through one of God’s prophets. As king, he had begun the process of ridding the land of its pagan idols and its idol worship. Substituting the true God for other gods was inevitably the result of the nation’s spiritual drift…

The Power of God Poured Out

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As soon as I read 2 Chronicles 7:1, another familiar event in the Scripture popped into my mind. Here is the story.

Solomon has built a magnificent temple to the Lord. He has just finished his prayer of dedication and commitment to God. The first verses of 2 Chronicles 7 then record: “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests found not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘He is good; his love endures forever’ (7:1-3).

We understand from the New Testament that those who have  come “to lean their whole weight upon” Jesus for their salvation (John G. Paton, Missionary to the New Hebrides), also become temples within which the Ho…

Overwhelmed

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Every time I read 2 Chronicles 5 I am stopped in my mental tracks by this verse: “…and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God” (5:14).

What would it be like for God to fill His house with so much of His presence that everything would come to an immediate stop because of it?

I’ve never been in a service like that. I don’t think something like that can be orchestrated but if we look at what led up to this momentous event in Solomon's life we might get a clue as to why it happened. 2 Chronicles 3 and 4 describe the building of the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Solomon took the plans and the provisions that his father, David, had made and began the project of building a house that would bring honour to God—a place where God’s presence would dwell. He knew from the beginning that no matter how magnificent the building and its furnishings it would be a paltry effort. In 2 Chronicles 1 Solomon says: “The temp…

Is God Good ALL the Time?

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There is something to be said for actually being party to a conversation in order to understand what the speakers are really trying to convey.

Take this example from 1 Chronicles 19. David is busy defeating Israel’s enemies. In this case he is faced with both the Ammonites and their allies, the Arameans. He splits his forces, sending Joab off to deal with the Arameans and Abishai to rout the Ammonites. The deal is that if Joab is in trouble Abishai will come to his rescue and if Abishai has problems Joab will come and lend a hand.

Joab then makes this interesting statement: “Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight” (1 Chronicles 19:13).

This is where it might be important to be present, not simply to hear what Joab is saying, but to read his body language. Skeptics could say that Joab’s language suggests a kind of fatalism, something like “what will be, will be.” Others might say that Joab’s statement clear…

Glory in HIS Name

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Above the entrance to our church’s auditorium there is a banner with this Scripture verse painted on it: “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29 JKV). We always considered that a reminder of what God expects of us as His followers—holiness. The more modern translations of the Scriptures render this verse like this: “Worship the Lord in the spender of his holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29 NIV, emphasis mine).

While it is true that as followers of Jesus our lives need to be patterned after His—after all we are commanded to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16 among many others). the context of this verse from Chronicles highlights, not who we are, or should be, but who God is.

The scene is David’s song of praise on the occasion of the return of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. As David consolidated his kingdom, one of the first orders of business was to return the people to the worship of the Lord their God. David’s ambition was to build God a magnificent templ…

Singing in Minor Keys

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Judah has fallen—several times! In a succession of invasions, the Babylonians, as instruments of God’s judgment, have taken the royal city. They have removed most of the inhabitants and taken them into captivity. Only the poorest are left behind (2 Kings 25:12). But what is worse is the total destruction and dismantling of the city and the temple as described in 2 Kings 24 and 25. Solomon’s glorious expression of worship is reduced to a pile of pebbles and its riches are either destroyed or carried away.

In passages like Psalm 137 we discover the depth of the despair all this caused in the Hebrews. The were devastated. But to add insult to injury the captives were commanded by their captors to sing songs! How could they be expected to sing under these circumstances?

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, ‘Sing us one of the songs…

The Lost Book

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When was the last time you when out for a good meal at Home Hardware?

Bet you didn’t, did you?

Disaster struck after King Hezekiah died. God had granted him a few extra years of life after a potentially fatal illness (2 Kings 20:1-6) and during that time a son, Manasseh, was born to him. When Hezekiah died, this son took his place as king. He was NOT like his father. The temple, once dedicated to the worship of God, was desecrated, filled with objects of idol worship. God had said: “‘In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. I will not again make the feet of the Israelites wander from the land I gave to their forefathers, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them.’ But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites” (21:7-9). Manasseh’s name …