2 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles 25
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I know you all must be growing weary of me apologizing for being late. My apology is sincere….Dr appointments for my husband following up on last weekend’s hospital visit, many documents that must be completed with no time to spare as part of his being laid off after 21 years of employment, and of course just “regular” life. Late….but still pushing forward <<<smile>>> Now on to our reading for today!!
Goodness!!!! It is becoming more and more difficult to tell which kingdom is Israel and which one is Judah because all the kings are a red hot mess!! Judah is barely skating by and their kings are doing some things “right in the eyes of The Lord” but so far….the high places are still functional ….so anyone can easily worship idols. In today’s terms…Israel has pretty much left the building concerning worshiping God and Judah is riding the fence….one foot in and one foot doing what feels good….being accepting of everyone’s choices…being politically correct. OH WAIT… am I speaking of Judah or our country today????
What are we REALLY talking about at this point? The keyword is APOSTASY which means turning away from The Lord. Unfortunately the way I remember that word is that it begins with the letter “A” … as in AMERICA…. as in Apostasy…… as in …… can you see how our reading about these two nations pulling away from God…..is sadly what is happening in huge numbers and in a relatively short time.
In earlier readings we saw the Nation of Israel divide which was a major historical event. NOW… we are reading about the beginning of nation’s fall. The Kingdom of Israel, the Northern Kingdom with its capital in Samaria falls first (because ALL of their kings have been bad and become even worse!! The Northern Kingdom came into existence in 931 B.C., In spite all that Elijah and Elisha tried to tell them about living for God, all the miracles God did through them, and all God did for them through Elijah and Elisha they NEVER turned from their sinful ways as a nation. Israel is in a PROSPERITY period. Everyone is living “the good life, doing what feels good, doing what everyone else does because it is the thing to do, eating well, drinking fine wines, etc, and NO ONE is noticing that Assyria is growing to be a huge, strong nation and eventually will conquer Israel in 733 BC. (The dates are so you can get an idea of where we are in between).
Some of Israel’s greatest years are in this era, Jeroboam had little devotion to God’s law and the “rich got richer and the poor got poorer” (does this sound like our country today????). Israel has grown cocky and self-centered….the OPPOSITE of humble and God centered!!. Jeroboam died in this chapter, so it is about 747 BC. In that ONE year…. Israel had 4 kings (the beginning of the decline) Jeroboam Jr, Zechariah, Shallum, and Menaham. Menaham will actually reign 10 years.
Jehoash (good) had a son Amaziah, who became the King of Judah. Amaziah followed in his father’s footsteps and did good but STILL did not take down the places of worship outside the Temple. What are these High places? They are “man made” ways to worship gods. God laid out ONE way to come to the Father…..ONE, 1, and ONLY ONE. The people of BOTH kingdoms have fallen prey to doing what their leaders and neighbors were doing…..worshiping false gods!!! God does not lay out His Plan for us and then give us the option to “do it our way.” There is ONLY ONE way to SALVATION!! DID YOU NOTICE WHAT A HUGE SIN THIS WAS and STILL IS?? How many times have we read the phrase “But they did not take down the high places”. There is ONE way to worship God today and that is Through Jesus Christ….ALL other ways are useless. These other ways will ALWAYS look good, smell good, feel good, sound as if there is nothing wrong with them…..which is EXACTLY why we MUST know God’s WORD. This is WHY it is SO important for us to have God’s Word written on our hearts. HIS WORD is the only way to tell the TRUTH from a LIE….and the closer we grow to the second coming….the harder it will be to tell the difference without KNOWING the WORD of God.
Amaziah, killed the men that killed his Dad, but does stay in God’s law and does not kill their sons. He then has some success when he conquered the Edomites, his chest is puffing up with pride!!! Have you ever noticed when we see success we become very vulnerable to falling. Look at what happened to Amaziah, he grew confident in his skills, and prideful in the results, then he became cocky and self righteous. “OH YEAH… I”M da man… I can do ANYTHING NOW and NO one can stop me…I’ve got the tiger by the tail….bring it on baby!!” And…..in his cockiness he PICKS a fight with Israel. Although the Edomites were conquered, according to what we read in Obadiah, that was ALL the Lord’s doing. This was God’s wrath and judgment for the disobedience of HIS chosen people.
A couple of other things I picked up on today were about Amaziah. First in 2 Chronicles 25:9 when the man of God came to Amaziah and told him NOT to use the men of Israel he had purchased. Amaziah did not thank the man of God for leading him. He wanted to know if he’d get his money back!! The man of God responded: “The Lord of God can give you much more than that.” These are GREAT words for us to think about today.
The second thing is in 2 Chronicles 25:2: Amaziah “did what was right in the eyes of The Lord, but not WHOLEHEARTEDLY.” This serves as a reminder to me to check my heart, and if for some reason I can’t “see” for myself…. I pray for God to show me if I am doing anything half hearted….or if I am doing things where I am riding the fence. Sometimes I don’t like the answer, but it definitely shows me areas I need God’s help in becoming more like HIM….with HIS help and guidance.
In 2 days we will begin the end years of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, while Assyria reaches its peak power under the reign of Tiglath-Pileser, terrible name, so sometimes he will be referred to as Pul.
Did you notice the name Jonah in the reading??? YES…. he is the same Jonah we will read about tomorrow and believe me it is a story of MUCH more than a story about a fish and a man.
Sharing HIS love,