July 15 – (2 Chron. 26-28) God promised Jehu that four generations would sit on the throne (I Ki. 10:29-31).  Why did He make that promise?  Did God keep His promise?  What were the four descendant’s’ names?

            It seems since Judah split from Israel (way back after King Solomon’s reign) that Israel seemed to be more idolatrous than Judah.  It was mostly because each king would do evil in God’s sight. Ahab and Jezebel influenced most of the kings of Israel to follow other gods.  Now though, Syria and Israel have overcome Judah.  Again, it’s because the king has chosen to lead his people in worshiping other gods. What was the name of this king of Judah (28:1-5)? What did he do wrong?

            Did you realize that Azariah (2 Kgs. 15) is called Uzziah in 2 Ch.?  We see here in 2 Chron. why Azariah (Uzziah) became leprous.  We need to be careful in God’s presence!

 


July 16 – (2 Chron. 29-30) As disobedient as Ahaz was, his son, Hezekiah was very obedient to the Lord. King Hezekiah prospered.  What were some reasons for that?  Whenever I know a new king is coming on the scene, I look at how long he reigns and can make a good guess whether or not “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord.”  King Hezekiah did “good” and reigned long (29:1-2).

King Hezekiah called the people back to follow the God of Israel (chapter 30).  He sent messengers throughout all the land to come and observe the Passover to the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem.  Some from Israel laughed at him but some came. Judah was united in one purpose to worship God.  It was an extended time of fellowship and worship to God unlike anything since Solomon’s reign. In 2013, I remember a service similar to this description. We came together in unity with one another and for the Lord. People with needs were at the altar.  Pastor Torry asked others to come and partner with them and promise to pray for them for at least two weeks.  We still need each other in very real ways!  We have a choice whether to obey God and come together in unity at least once a week or be diminished if we choose not to.  Selah      


July 17 (2 Chron. 31-33) 2 Chronicles 32 really is an enjoyable chapter to read. It is overflowing with things to ponder and glory in God’s power, love, protection, and discipline!  How did the king of Assyria try to defeat the people of Jerusalem?  Do “words spoken” defeat us or lift us up?  How did Hezekiah find victory?  It reminds me of another passage… “Life and death is in the tongue (Pro. 18:21).” Selah 


July 18 – (2 Chron. 34-36) After King Josiah heard the book of the law found in the temple; he tore his clothes and sought the Lord.  To whom did he send the scribes to hear from the Lord (34: 14-22)?  What was the profession of her family?  How interesting.  God spoke through all kinds of people in every station of life, just like He does in EACH of us today.  Are we telling others what we hear from the Lord?  Selah

Josiah kept the Passover. It says, “There was no Passover kept like that since the days of Samuel the prophet.”  If you dare, go back over all the kings and imagine what the people under those kings missed out on.  What are we missing out on today because we aren’t “remembering” what God has done for us? Hmm

            Though the Jeremiah, spoken of here (35:25), most likely was the prophet (Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah), we recognize during this period, there was another Jeremiah that was close to Josiah.  The father-in-law of Josiah was also named Jeremiah.  This Jeremiah had a daughter (Hamutal) who married Josiah and then had Jehoahaz who became king after Josiah died.   


July 19 – (Ezra 1-3) Let’s get an over view of Ezra. First of all, this book never declares its author, but many scholars believe the same author wrote Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1-2 Chronicles. The events narrated in Ezra-Nehemiah occur over a century leading almost to the 400 years’ silence before Jesus came to earth. Remember that the books of the Bible are not in chronological order. While we have read the Bible in the past, as the events happened, this year we are working through cover to cover. 😊

            As the people return from exile in Babylon to the Promised Land, they are under threat from the non-Jews living there.  Having been driven from the land previously because of their sin, they also need to learn once again how to live in a covenant with God.  The land must be restored through the physical presence of God’s people, and the people must revive a spiritual commitment to serve God alone.  As the temple is rebuilt, and more exiles come back to the land, the people start to reestablish the nation that God had promised Abraham. As the priests return and begin to teach the people how to love God and live according to His ways, the people recommit themselves to the Lord.

The book of Ezra encourages this returning community toward pure worship and holy behavior. This book also rejoices in God’s provision in returning them to the land, rebuilding the temple, and calling His people back to Himself.  It also warns against falling away again through sin and against serving other gods. The remnant of Israel should persevere in hope, repent in humility, and live in obedience. It sounds like this book is again a reminder to us today how we should live.  Let’s read it as such. 😊 


July 20 – (Ezra 4-7) The temple is being rebuilt!  What did the priests and Levites do during this time (6:10)?   6:12-13 shows us the difference between the older folks who enjoyed worshiping in the original temple and then seeing it destroyed and the younger ones who are experiencing (probably for the first time) a place to worship where the presence of God dwells.  Think about the “church” today.  Do we see these attitudes as well?  This is a big “ponderable”!  


July 21 – (Ezra 8-10) God, in His grace has returned a remnant to Jerusalem… to be home. 70 years of being away in captivity because of their disobedience.  Now they are back and have offered burnt offerings and are ready to settle in.  Ezra is told something about the people that caused him to tear his robe and pull his hair out.  What did they do now?  What did God require of the people, especially the leaders?  What did He require of Ezra to lead them in? 

            In our world culture this is totally unheard of. Doesn’t the Bible say, “Do not be unequally yoked”?  I know everyone’s case is different.  I did not quote that to cause condemnation (which is not from God so just reject that feeling!).  Does that prevent you as a Christian to enter heaven?  Of course not!  Will you struggle more in living in the freedom of Christ? Probably….  Remember: “There is therefore NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom.8:1, 2). In fact if you are struggling with feeling condemned about anything, you may want to spend some time studying and memorizing all of Romans 8.  I know I am. J  I am learning to recognize the difference between conviction (the Holy Spirit showing you areas He wants to heal and restore to “the image of Christ”.  The action was wrong and needs repentance, but it does not touch who you are in Christ) and condemnation (the enemy causes you to feel you are a bad person because of a thought, word or action.  He attacks your self-worth in Christ).  Let me repeat this in a little different way (I am still working on renewing my mind in this area.).

Who I am – condemnation attacks who God made us to be (I am the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus! No one can change that from God’s perspective. Condemnation makes me feel God’s view has changed.)

What I did – guilt-conviction shows us what actions were wrong. (Our position as righteous before God has not lessened!  He wants to renew our mind (cast down / repent of wrong thinking and begin thinking His Truth in that area!)