Daily Encouragement

July 31 – Hezekiah’s Good Start

July 31
2 Chronicles 29:1-36
Romans 14:1-23
Psalm 24:1-10
Proverbs 20:12

2 Chronicles 29:3 – A good way to start on the very first month of his reign.

  • Repairing the LORD’s house (2 Chronicles 29:3)
  • Recalling the Levite’s responsibility (2 Chronicles 29:5)
  • Repenting for fathers’ sins (2 Chronicles 29:6)
  • Recognizing God’s wrath (2 Chronicles 29:9)
  • Restoring Israel’s covenant (2 Chronicles 29:10)
  • Rallying the city’s rulers (2 Chronicles 29:20)
  • Rendering the lambs’ blood (2 Chronicles 29:22)
  • Rejoicing in Asaph’s songs (2 Chronicles 29:30)
  • Receiving the people’s offerings (2 Chronicles 29:31)

Romans 14:3 – Paul is repealing virtually all of Kashrut – the Jewish dietary laws. The prohibitions against eating blood are still maintained (Acts 15:29). He goes on to repeal the festivals and Sabbath (Romans 14:5). Notice Paul did not reiterate the 4th Commandment in Romans 13:9.

Romans 14:10 – The Judgment Seat of Christ is introduced for the first time here. Erwin Lutzer is “amazed at the number of people who don’t realize that the Bible teaches that we shall all, as Christians, “stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ to give an account.” John MacArthur shows it will be an evaluation of our lives. Piper reminds us “Salvation is owned by faith. Salvation is shown by deeds.” Keathley has an in-depth discussion of the doctrine of rewards. Adrian Rogers points out:

First, God will be judging both the saved and the sinners.

Next, God judges the saved as sons and daughters.

Then God judges the saved as servants.

Psalm 24:7 – The Prussian hymnwriter Georg Weissel draws from this verse when he composed the hymn, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates.

Proverbs 20:12 – From the Pulpit Commentary:

This apothegm, which seems to be nothing but a trite truism, brings to notice many important consequences. First, there is the result noted in Psalm 94:9, “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?” Hence we learn the sleepless providence of God.

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Daily Encouragement

July 30 – Army sizes in the Bible

July 30
2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27
Romans 13:1-14
Psalm 23:1-6
Proverbs 20:11

2 Chronicles 26:3 – Uzziah’s 52 years was just 3 years shorter than Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:1), but in contrast to Manasseh’s evil (2 Chronicles 33:2), Uzziah did right (2 Chronicles 26:4).

2 Chronicles 26:13 – The 307,500 man army sounds impressive – discounting even today’s standards (U.S. has 2,092,900 active + reserves) – but let’s see how this weighs against other counts we have (keep in mind some are standing armies – ready to fight / reserves – census count, able to draft / expeditionary forces – soldiers in a moving army on a campaign):

  • 1,600,000 – David (Israel + Judah-Levi-Benjamin) / c. 950 BC – 2 Samuel 24:9, 1 Chronicles 21:5 {see explanation at DefendingInerrancy)
  • 1,160,000 – Jehoshaphat (Judah + Benjamin / c. 850 BC – 2 Chronicles 17:14-18)
  • 1,000,000 – Zerah (Ethiopia / c. 901 BC – 2 Chronicles 14:8)
  • 800,000 – Jeroboam (Israel / c. 912 BC – 2 Chronicles 13:3)
  • 603,550 – Moses (Israel / c. 1445 BC – Exodus 38:26, Numbers 1:46, Numbers 2:32)
  • 601,730 – Moses (Israel / c. 1407 BC – Numbers 26:51)
  • 600,000 – Moses (Israel / c. 1446 BC – Exodus 12:37)
  • 580,000 – Asa (Judah+Benjamin / c. 901 BC – 2 Chronicles 14:8)
  • 400,000 – Abijah (Judah / c. 912 BC – 2 Chronicles 13:3)
  • 400,000 – Judges (Israel-Benjamin / c.  – Judges 20:2, Judges 20:17)
  • 330,000 – Saul (Israel + Judah / c. 1050 BC – 1 Samuel 11:8)
  • >320,000 – Ahaz (Judah / c. 725 BC – 2 Chronicles 28:6-8)
  • 307,500 – Uzziah (Judah / c. 768 BC – 2 Chronicles 26:13)
  • 300,000 – Amaziah (Judah / c. 795 BC – 2 Chronicles 25:5)
  • 210,000 – Saul (Israel + Judah / c. 1040 BC – 1 Samuel 15:4)
  • 185,000 – Sennacherib/Rabshekah’s Expeditionary Force (Assyria / c. 701 BC – 2 Kings 19:35)
  • 180,000 – Rehoboam (Judah+Benjamin / c. 930 BC – 1 Kings 12:21)
  • 42,360 – Zerubbabel – (Exiles / c. 516 BC – Ezra 2:64)

Uzziah’s army was fairly small historically speaking – but depending on the strength of surrounding kings – it was significant and it was supplied (2 Chronicles 26:14) and they had artillery (2 Chronicles 26:15). Then things went bad (2 Chronicles 26:16).

2 Chronicles 27:2 – Obedient kings were tough to find. Here’s a start of a chart comparing their general practice (if you have a better one let me know). This is not a fully precise chart – analyzing Uzziah’s sin of entering the temple shows a specific practice.

  • Worst – Burnt children (1st Command / 6th Command)
    • Judah: Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:1-2)
    • Judah: Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:6)
  • Worse – Sins of Ahab (Baal / 1st Command)
    • Israel: Ahab (1 Kings 16:31)
    • Judah: Manasseh (2 Kings 21:3)
  • Bad – Sins of Jeroboam (Golden Calf / 2nd Commmand / 1 Kings 12:26-30)
    • Israel: Jehoram (2 Kings 3:3).
    • Israel: Pekah (2 Kings 15:28)
  • Good – Solomonic Temple, but left sodomites, high places
    • Judah: Solomon (1 Kings 11:7) – built high places
    • Judah: Asa (1 Kings 15:14)
  • Good – Solomonic Temple, removed sodomites, but left highplaces,
    • Judah: Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43, 1 Kings 22:46)
  • Better – Solomonic Temple, removed highplaces
    • Judah: Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4)
    • Judah: Josiah (2 Kings 23:8)

2 Chronicles 27:6 – A king that could be trusted with success, as opposed to Uzaah (2 Chronicles 26:16).

2 Chronicles 28:9-13 – Remember that LORD is the name Jehovah/Yahweh – the specific personal name for the God of Israel. So why should Israel that had been so disobedient to the LORD listen to a prophet of the LORD (2 Chronicles 28:9), speak in the name of the LORD (2 Chronicles 28:9), about sins against the LORD (2 Chronicles 28:10), resulting in the wrath of the LORD (2 Chronicles 28:11), resulting in conviction among the leaders (2 Chronicles 28:13)? Because Pekah, the ruler at this time (2 Chronicles 28:6), like most of Israel’s leaders was “Bad” not “Worse/Worst.” While they violated the 2nd Commandment by building the Golden Calf for the worship of the LORD in a city other than Jerusalem, they kept the 1st Commandment. Only a few kings (Ahab, Ahaz, Manasseh) actively promoted the worship of Baal over the LORD. The rest pulled an Aaron and declared a feast to the LORD (Exodus 32:5) to dedicate the molten calf (Exodus 32:4) as the god who brought Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 32:4). This was a direct violation of the 2nd commandment – not “another god” but “the God” in the wrong way (see Nadab & Abihu – Numbers 3:4).

2 Chronicles 28:23 – Everything is easier than repenting and following the LORD.

Romans 13:1 – The man who has called upon the name of the LORD (Romans 10:13), has a changed form (Romans 12:1), and has a relationship with government that reflects submission.

Romans 13:9 – Are we free from the law in the age of grace? Has the freedom to eat Bacon extended to freedom to do whatever? No – Commandments 7, 6, 8, 9, and 10 – the entire second half of the law is directly restated and summarized (and given enforcement power (Romans 13:4)).

Psalm 23:1 – Some comments on Psalm 23 from D.L. Moody’s Bibles:

And from our good friend Patch the Pirate (very close to word perfect KJV)

Proverbs 20:11 – Reputations start early. What’s yours?

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Daily Encouragement

July 29 – The Temple Builder’s Progeny break up the Temple

July 29
2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28
Romans 12:1-21
Psalm 22:19-31
Proverbs 20:8-10

2 Chronicles 24:7 – We think of the destruction of the temple in 586 BC as disgraceful, yet when we realize that the descendants of Solomon (the sons of Athaliah would have been also the sons of Jehoram) – the very builder of the temple’s descendants of the 6th generation “had broken up the house of God.”

2 Chronicles 24:10 – One of the few times you see “all the people” rejoicing about a mandatory tax – perhaps because the people realized that there was a king focused on eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in this building project!

2 Chronicles 24:17 – Can one man make a difference? Let’s see when Jehoiada is not around – they kill his son! (2 Chronicles 24:21) for speaking the words of God (2 Chronicles 24:20). Interesting that his slaying of a priest is avenged by an Ammonite and a Moabite (2 Chronicles 24:26). They possibly had good intentions (avenge their friend) but God says its better to let a bad king be in power than to bring a better king (2 Chronicles 25:2) in the wrong way (see 1 Samuel 24:6).

2 Chronicles 25:4 – As we’ve seen Moses prohibited human rulers from punishing the children for the sins of the father (Deuteronomy 24:16) – human vengeance, but God can and does judge the children for the sins of the father (Exodus 34:7).

2 Chronicles 25:6 – National unity – the goal of Jehoshaphat, exemplified in the wife of Jehoram, and the fault of Amaziah – hiring mercenaries from Israel. Separation is required from those who are not followers of our LORD (2 Chronicles 25:7). And we can’t say “but I’ve already spent….” – whether its money spent on things that God warns us against – alcohol (Proverbs 20:1), drugs, pornography, etc –  “The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.” Be willing to take a radical stand for God.

2 Chronicles 25:14 – My God beat your god, so I will serve your god…. I’m struggling to follow Amaziah’s logic. And the prophet will echo this in 2 Chronicles 25:15. Speaking of bad logic – why pick a fight with a stronger nation? (2 Chronicles 25:17).

2 Chronicles 25:27 – The front gate of Lachish:

Romans 12:1 Now that we have called upon the name of the LORD, what should we be doing? Serving Him! Put our all on the altar!

Let’s put together a quick list:

  1. Give your body to God (Romans 12:1)
  2. Reject this world’s form (Romans 12:2)
  3. Renew your mind in the Word (Romans 12:2)
  4. Be humble (Romans 12:3)
  5. Be sober (Romans 12:3)
  6. Use our gifts (Romans 12:6)
  7. Love one another (Romans 12:9-10)
  8. Good over evil (Romans 12:9)
  9. Prefer one another (Romans 12:10)
  10. Serve the LORD (Romans 12:11)
  11. Rejoice (Romans 12:12)
  12. Patience (Romans 12:12)
  13. Pray (Romans 12:13)
  14. and we have 8 more verses to go! Make your own list of what a follower of Christ looks like!

Psalm 22:22 – Here’s what David says he will do following his salvation by the LORD. He will testify to the goodness of the LORD (Psalm 22:23, Psalm 22:25).

Proverbs 20:10 – Psst, don’t tell your atheist friends, but the State of Wisconsin conducted 216,887 inspections in 2017 to make sure that Wisconsin merchants were not committing abominations to the LORD.

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Daily Encouragement

July 28 – Jehoshaphat’s sad legacy of “unity”

July 28
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21
Romans 11:13-36
Psalm 22:1-18
Proverbs 20:7

2 Chronicles 21:1 – We’ve spent four chapters with Jehoshaphat – the most we’ve spent with any king since Solomon, and the most spent until Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29-32).

2 Chronicles 21:4 – How did good king Jehoshaphat’s son become known for filicide? Because of the pattern of compromise that Jehoshaphat brought in with is dealings with Ahab. Perhaps the political unity that led to joint fundraising and joint expeditions led to a joint kingdom dream? Likely Jehoram didn’t pick his bride – his dad assigned his heir (his eldest male descendant) the daughter of Ahab.

2 Chronicles 21:12 – Elijah dominated the Kings (from 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 10) but this is the only mention of Elijah in the Chronicles, mainly because Elijah’s ministry was to the North / King Ahab, while the Chronicles focused on the South. Yet because Jehoshaphat kept intertwining himself with the North (perhaps wanting to undo Jeroboam’s split in 1 Kings 12:16 – but unity must be built on theology, not just proximity!) – Elijah intervened in Southern business.

2 Chronicles 21:19-20 – Was the worst epitaph that his bowels fell out or that he “departed without being desired.“?

2 Chronicles 22:11 – Jehoshabeath was used by God to preserve the line of the Messiah! (Matthew 1:9). By the way, who else was hidden as a small child ? (Exodus 2:3).

2 Chronicles 23:1 – The covenant was renewed, with a renewed focus on the word of the LORD (2 Chronicles 23:3), and the re-establishment of holiness (2 Chronicles 23:6). This covenant was expanded to all the people (2 Chronicles 23:16), and led to the purification of Israel (2 Chronicles 23:17).

2 Chronicles 23:19 – We had read in 1 Chronicles about the 4,000 porters (1 Chronicles 23:5), and even the lists of their service (1 Chronicles 9:17-26), but the point of listing the porters, and their reintroduction – is that the temple had porters, had porters reintroduced, and now rebuilt (at the post-Exilic time) would follow in line with Joash’s renovations.

Romans 11:26 – God isn’t thru with Israel yet! He has a plan for them but today he has extended his mercy to you! (Romans 11:30).

Psalm 22:3 – Speaking of holiness – why did God forsake his son (Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46)? It is because of this – God is holy, and cannot look on evil (Habakkuk 1:13), and God made Jesus to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). This chapter records the sufferings and glory of Jesus.

  • First Cycle: 22:1‑2 = Complaint (to God)
    • 22:3‑5 = Confidence (in God)
  • Second Cycle: 22:6‑8 = Complaint
    • 22:9‑11 = Confidence and Petition [v. 11]
  • Third Cycle: 22:12‑18 = Complaint
    • 22:19‑21 = Confidence and (mostly) Petition

Proverbs 20:7 -The lapse of Jehoshaphat’s obedience led to his children losing the blessing. How will your behavior affect your descendants’ blessings?

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Daily Encouragement

July 27 – Good King Jehoshaphat Trusts God but Disobeys His Warning

July 27
2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37
Romans 10:14-11:12
Psalm 21:1-13
Proverbs 20:4-6

2 Chronicles 19:2 – Yesterday we pointed out Jehoshaphat’s compromise, and today he is rebuked for it. Yes good people can do much good (2 Chronicles 19:7), but by their alliances “help the ungodly.” Dr. Peter Masters, pastor of Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle talks about the sad state of those who are personally faithful yet partner with the ungodly, especially because like Jehu, we cannot gloss over that partnership. The good news is that Jehoshaphat seemed to hear the seer in that he warns the Levites to warn the people about the wrath (2 Chronicles 19:10) that he was warned about (2 Chronicles 19:2). But we read that while he heard the seer he didn’t follow the seer, for he didn’t just partner with Ahab, but with Ahab’s wicked son Ahaziah (2 Chronicles 20:35). Again the prophets warned him that God was judging him for an unholy alliance (2 Chronicles 20:37).

Triumph of Jehosaphat over Adad of Syria as illustrated by Jean Fouquet (1470s) for Josephus‘ Antiquities of the Jews.

2 Chronicles 20:3 – Jehoshaphat was one of the few kings who didn’t try to solve battles on his own, but turned to the LORD, and turned the whole nation to the LORD (2 Chronicles 20:4). His prayer was based on God’s past actions and promises (2 Chronicles 20:7), and the Solomonic dedication (2 Chronicles 20:9). And this request was granted dramatically (2 Chronicles 20:17).

2 Chronicles 20:21 – How do you know the people really believed? They sent singers out “before the army.” That’s faith to go out armed with nothing but your vocal cords!

2 Chronicles 20:33 – The story of Jehoshaphat. Personally righteous, able to move the people to fear the LORD, but his desire for “unity” with the Northern Kingdom and his tolerance of the high places were the black marks on his impressive resume of a king following God. Today many ministers are doing a great work for God, but they are allying themselves with those hostile to God. We must be willing to put faithfulness to God above “unity at any cost.”

Romans 10:14 – Yesterday we read how salvation comes to those who believe in Jesus – and that is done by calling on His name. Yet Paul backs up the logic change – God is sending preachers with beautiful feet (Romans 10:15) with the word of God (Romans 10:17), and we are called to go as well!

Romans 11:12 – God isn’t finished with the Israelites yet! Thru their diminishing the Gentiles experience the riches of the Gospel, yet thru their fulness – the world will be blessed even more.

Psalm 21:1 – Yes in 2 Chronicles 20:27 we saw the king of Judah rejoicing in the salvation of God, for his answered prayers (Psalm 21:2). But the God of grace and salvation is also a God of wrath (Psalm 21:9).

Psalm 21:13 – Speaking of singing, join with the Ambassador Staff Quartet as they sing Be Thou Exalted!

Proverbs 20:6Phil Cooke tells of the challenge of finding faithful men (and women):

For instance, in many cases, I’ve had media people here in Hollywood tell me they’ve worked for “Fox” – with the inference that it means Fox Film Studios, or Fox Television. But with a closer look, I discovered they’d been an assistant at a local Fox TV station in a small town in the Midwest.

In another situation I had a client excitedly hire a producer from a famous church’s TV ministry, thinking that if they worked for that famous church, she had to be amazing. But I decided to make a few calls, and discovered she had actually been fired from the church, and they were adamant they would never hire her again.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.