Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 35-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21
King Josiah reinstitutes the Passover which had apparently, yet again, not been celebrated for years (2 Chronicles 35:1). Also it seems that the Ark of the Covenant had been removed from the most holy place inside the Temple at some point (2 Chronicles 35:3).
Josiah was so serious about this Passover that he bore the expense himself by supplying animals from his own herds (2 Chronicles 35:7). His actions cause others to do likewise (2 Chronicles 35:8-9). That is the true measure of leadership – if the people who are led adopt the habits of their leader.
The Passover lamb was symbolic of the savior who was to come. This included its slaughter, shedding of its blood, and even it roasting over a fire (2 Chronicles 35:13) as Christ was in the fires of hell for three days.
Josiah becomes the final good king of Judah but notice that he, too, has a bad ending when he goes to war against Egypt (2 Chronicles 35:20-22). Josiah ends up dying in battle bringing an end to one of the best kings Israel or Judah ever had. Its so easy for one mistake in judgment to ruin our lives. That is why we need to pray before acting. We need to be doing the right things, not just “any thing”.
The kings that follow Josiah are bad (2 Chronicles 36) and soon after Josiah’s death Babylon captures Jerusalem and Judah becomes a puppet state. After that, the land falls into complete apostasy and turns to the false gods of the surrounding nations (2 Chronicles 36:14).
Notice that God tried to warn everyone. But the people laughed at the prophets God sent until “nothing more could be done” (2 Chronicles 36:16). It is not God’s will to bring disaster upon anyone. God is constantly trying to reach out to every individual on earth to save him or her. But there comes a time when, after much rejection, God will cease and desist and let people have the life they think they want. The United States is following this same pattern.
That is what happens to Judah in 2 Chronicles 36:17-20 when it is destroyed and the best and brightest people are exiled to Babylon. They will remain there for 70 years as prophesied (we have yet to read this prophecy, but we will later this year). At that time, Babylon is conquered by Persia and King Cyrus allows the Jews to return home (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). The next two books of the Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah, document that return.
In today’s New Testament reading we start the letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians. This is the first of two such letters in the Bible, hence the book is called “1 Corinthians”. It is not the first letter Paul ever wrote to the church in Corinth, as we will learn shortly.
Paul was an apostle of Jesus by God’s will (1 Corinthians 1:1). He was not self-appointed. His story was documented in the book of Acts where we learned that God specifically called Paul to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. God has a plan for every man and woman – a plan that uses the skills and talents He has given us.
Here Paul is establishing his credentials for what he is going to say in this letter. It won’t be pretty, so he needs to validate his authority first.
Churches back then were not the large buildings that we know today. The Greek word Paul uses that we translate into “church” in verse 2 means “assembly” and was also used for secular gatherings.
Corinth was a very important city on a 4.5-mile-wide isthmus. Known for its high-standard of living and prosperity from the sea-trade, it was also known for its immorality (hey, there were a lot of sailors there).
Paul calls the Corinthian’s “saints” which is what they were, in God’s view (1 Corinthians 1:2), as they were saved (1 Corinthians 1:4). But they were acting anything like it and that is what Paul addresses in this letter. Paul starts off by encouraging them (1 Corinthians 1:5-9). Its always good to include something positive when we have to deliver negative feedback to someone. We’ve seen God do this very thing a few times in our Old Testament readings.
Then Paul gets right to the heart of the matter: there were divisions among this church (1 Corinthians 1:10-12). Apparently these divisions were centered around certain men from whom each had learned. The church at Corinth was following people – they were not following Jesus.
David addresses a common enemy we all face – fear – in Psalm 27. There is no reason to be afraid of anything if we know God. He will protect us so we can remain confident and brave (Psalm 27:1-3). David’s desire is to be with God for this reason – when we leave God’s presence we give up His protection (Psalm 27:4-5). When we do experience God’s protection we can hold our head high and rejoice! (Psalm 27:6).
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