February 27, 2018

2 Chronicles 33:1-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images, and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall My name be forever.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever; and I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land which I have appointed for your fathers—only if they are careful to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.” So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.

Background

After the good king Hezekiah passed away, his son, Manasseh, became king of Judah. Remember that Hezekiah ruled a long time and sought the LORD faithfully. He walked in the ways of David and set Judah along the Way as well.

Seduced By Their Leader

So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil

The people of Israel listened to their king and not the King of Kings. As King, he was able to manipulate the people to turn from the LORD. It probably wasn’t that hard. We are naturally inclined to sin because we are born into it.

It’s even easier when someone in power – someone we respect – leads us down that path. Manasseh reigned fifty-five years. He was doing something right in the people’s minds. They probably respected him and were happy with him. Even though he led them astray. When we are complacent with ourselves and our leaders because it feels good or “makes us happy” then we usually end up turning from the LORD.

Choosing our leaders in many countries today is considerably easier than it was then. But can be even easier to choose the one who would seduce us away from God. When we elect our leaders, we are driven to choose those who make us happy. If we are not seeking the LORD ourselves, then it is our flesh which will determine our desires and our happiness. This will so easily lead to choosing leaders who will drive us away from HIM.

Daily Challenge

Set your mind on the LORD, that your desires will be His desires. That your joy comes from the Hope in Christ. When we make important decisions about how our lives are led, seek ye first the Kingdom of God. This will bring joy.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

February 26, 2018

2 Chronicles 32:1-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 After these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself. And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that his purpose was to make war against Jerusalem, he consulted with his leaders and commanders to stop the water from the springs which were outside the city; and they helped him. Thus many people gathered together who stopped all the springs and the brook that ran through the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?” And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance. Then he set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, saying, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem (but he and all the forces with him laid siege against Lachish), to Hezekiah king of Judah, and to all Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, 10 “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria: ‘In what do you trust, that you remain under siege in Jerusalem? 11 Does not Hezekiah persuade you to give yourselves over to die by famine and by thirst, saying, “The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? 12 Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, “You shall worship before one altar and burn incense on it”? 13 Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands in any way able to deliver their lands out of my hand? 14 Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed that could deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? 15 Now therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or persuade you like this, and do not believe him; for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand?’”

16 Furthermore, his servants spoke against the Lord God and against His servant Hezekiah.

17 He also wrote letters to revile the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, “As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand.” 18 Then they called out with a loud voice in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten them and trouble them, that they might take the city. 19 And they spoke against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth—the work of men’s hands.

20 Now because of this King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to heaven. 21 Then the Lord sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned shamefaced to his own land. And when he had gone into the temple of his god, some of his own offspring struck him down with the sword there.

22 Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.

Background

Hezekiah had spent the past 14 years reigning over Judah. He was a God-fearing king who delighted in the work of the LORD. He had listened to His mother, and the Prophet Isaiah and turned the nation back to God. However, Judah was still considered a Vassal of Assyria and was required to send yearly tribute to Assyria. This year, Hezekiah did not send tribute.

An Arm Of Flesh

Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.

The Assyrian army lays siege to Judah, and it is quite terrifying. Judah cut off the water supply to them, as we see, but they still outnumbered them in men. This arm of flesh was much greater than Judah’s. This must have been terrifying, yet a very common occurrence for Judah. They were a very small nation compared to the great powers around them, yet they had something these superpowers didn’t have.

Hezekiah says “don’t worry, there’s more of us than them.” I can imagine a few people being like, “great, the fear of this army has driven our king mad!” But he continues and says that all the enemy has is an “arm of flesh” but we have the LORD! He tells them to “be strong and courageous.”

So, the Assyrians start to boast. They speak about how they had wiped out so many other nations and their gods had done nothing, so why should your God be any different.

Then the Lord sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria.

So Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed fervently to the LORD, (it wouldn’t have been a two-second prayer, they would have fasted and sacrificed and prayed HARD) and the LORD delivered them. He sends an Angel to take out a great multitude of men. In fact, the angel killed 185,000 Assyrians, (2 Kings 19:36) and caused the Assyrians to be the ones fearful now!

Daily Challenge

Look at your enemies today and be strong and courageous, acknowledge that you come in the name of the LORD Almighty, and you are not alone.

February 9, 2018

Genesis 49:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Background

Jacob had gone up to live in Egypt after Joseph saved them (and most of the world) from the famine.  For 17 years Jacob stayed there making him 147 years old at this point. (He considered himself young, which is understandable considering if you look at this timeline, he could have personally known the grandsons of Noah, who were many many hundreds of years old.)

So Jacob knows he is going to die soon and he calls all twelve of his sons to him. There he prophesies over them, in order of age. He starts with Reuben, who will be mighty, but never excel because of his sins. (Gen 49:3-4) Simeon and Levi were next, who were cruel and will therefore “be scattered in Israel. (Gen 49:5-7) Then he comes to Judah.

The Scepter

 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

There is a reason Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah: this prophecy. It refers to Judah as like a Lion. This is important for a few reasons. 400 years later, when God establishes the law through Moses, the sons of Levi would become the Priests. Yet the Messiah would not come through Levi, but rather Judah, as a Lion.

If you carried a scepter it denoted your standing. Generally, scepters were held by rulers. Judah, who wasn’t the oldest of the sons, but would be the greatest, held the scepter. This also would prophesy how the Nation of Judah after the divide between the ten tribes of Northern Israel and the two tribes of Southen Judah would be the just and righteous nation. They would be spared destruction by the Assyrians, later as well.

Shiloh

Until Shiloh comes;

The Hebrew word שִׁילֹה (shiyloh) which translates to Shiloh is used quite frequently in the Pentateuch, (the first five books of the Bible) Here, however, is the only time Strong (the author of Strong’s Concordance, which has a definition for every single Hebrew and Greek word in the bible) defines it as “an epithet of the Messiah”. Every other time, it refers to the city which bears the same name. Both names mean “peace.”

 This is interesting because there is a double meaning going on here. Later on, during the conquest of Canaan, the Ark of the Covenant had been held at Gilgal (Joshua 17:1) but would be held in the City of Shiloh from the end of the conquest to the time of The Prophet Samuel. Shiloh would fall into the territory of the Tribe of Judah.

The other definition is very powerful. Shiloh means peace or tranquility, and with it being translated “until Shiloh comes” lends itself to the meaning of Shiloh referring to the Messiah. Jesus is predicted to come through the line of Judah. He even comes from a very small town in the lands of Judah, a town called Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6)

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”

Daily Challenge

Look at how God sets things us from the beginning. Even right away, with the serpent tempting Adam and Eve, He was setting the World up for the Messiah. This providence is powerful. Look back in your life and see where He been setting you up for successes and failures. Remember that it’s all in His hands, and He has a plan for you. Pray today that you can trust in His plan for you, and that He grant you the wisdom to trust in Him.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

– Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation (NLT)