ABC June 26 – July 2

June 26 — 1 Kings 15:25 to 16:34, 2 Chron. 17 — Chaos vs. Stability (about 909 – 869 BC).  There was quite a contrast between leadership in Judah and Israel at this time.  Our reading today keeps referring to the year new kings of Israel began to reign in comparison to the year of King Asa’s reign in Judah.  During the 41 years King Asa was on the southern throne, there were seven kings who ruled in northern Israel, one of them for only seven days.  Israel’s political climate was in chaos because they had turned away from God to serve idols.  In contrast, the southern kingdom (Judah and Benjamin) had stability, prosperity, and strength because they continued to follow Yahweh.  King Asa’s son Jehoshaphat was even more desirous of serving God than his father, sending his officials, Levites, and priests throughout the land to teach them the Law of God.  God’s blessing is also on those today who choose to follow Him faithfully rather than to “worship” the glittering gods of wealth, fame, beauty, entertainment, etc.

June 27 — 1 Kings 17-19 — Ups and Downs (about 863 – 858 BC).  We see another contrast in our reading for today.  It shows two amazing mood differences of Elijah.  In the presence of King Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal, he was mighty, confident, and commanding.  However, after the threat of Jezebel, he was cowering, lonely, and wanted to die.  That might suggest different moods encountered in your own life: success and defeat, confidence and fear, strength and weakness, etc.  It is important to remember, however, that God is with us in all of those situations and moods.  God was with Elijah when he was strong, directing him in the miraculous events with the widow and with Ahab.  But God was also with him in his fearful place of hiding with the angel’s waking touch on his shoulder and God’s whispered voice.  God is with us!  He will never leave us or forsake us, whether we find ourselves in successful situations or fearful ones.

June 28 — 1 Kings 20-21 — Humility Invites Mercy (about 857 – 855 BC).  In our reading for today, two kings humbled themselves and both of them received mercy.  King Ben-hadad of Syria humbled himself wearing sackcloth and begging King Ahab for his life: “Please, let me live!” (20:32).  This came after he boasted about what he was going to do to Ahab and the city of Samaria.  Ahab’s response to that pride was classic: “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off” (20:11 NIV)—in other words, “Save your bragging until after you win.”  God sent a prophet to Ahab to promise victory, which was accomplished by a tiny army that looked “like two little flocks of goats” against the mighty Syrians who “filled the country” (20:27).  After 127,000 Syrian soldiers died, Ben-hadad humbled himself and Ahab showed mercy, although it was not God’s will.  The second example of humility came later when Ahab humbled himself before God after apparently agreeing to Jezebel’s plan to have Naboth killed for his vineyard (21:19).  God responded in mercy by temporarily postponing the punishment against the house of Ahab.  Humility invites mercy, sometimes from men but even more so, from God.  Don’t boast about what you plan to do; only give praise to God for what He has done!

June 29 — 1 Kings 22, 2 Chron. 18 — Depending on God (about 853 BC).  I was impressed by King Jehoshaphat’s sensitivity to God in this story.  Although he reached out in peace to the wicked King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel by visiting him and even agreeing to accompany him to war against Syria, he was cautious and insisted, “Inquire first for the word of the LORD” (1 Kings 22:5).  Then, after hearing the advice of the 400 prophets of Israel, Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” (v. 7).  However, when God’s prophet Micaiah predicted disaster for King Ahab (v. 23), Jehoshaphat strangely still agreed to go into the battle.  When the Syrians aimed their attack toward the royally dressed King Jehoshaphat, v. 32 says that “Jehoshaphat cried out.”  It is not clear to whom he cried out or what he said, however, the account in 2 Chron. 18:31 adds something that showed Jehoshaphat’s dependence on God: “Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him: God drew them away from him.”  He was apparently crying out to God because it was on Him that he depended.  Let us begin every day with a commitment to depend on God.

June 30 — 2 Chron. 19-23 — Unholy Alliances (about 853 – 841 BC).  Jehoshaphat was a good king but he made some wrong choices.  Although his reaching out to King Ahab in Israel was probably done with good intentions, he was confronted in a rebuke by the prophet Jehu upon his return (19:2).  Near the end of his life, he was confronted and criticized again by the prophet Eliezer for entering a ship-building project with Ahab’s son Ahaziah (20:35).  This association with wicked Ahab’s dynasty had long-lasting negative results for Judah.  Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, married Athaliah, one of Ahab’s daughters (21:5).  The plot thickens!  She led him into the sin of worshipping the god Baal.  After Jehoram reigned for only eight years and died in an agonizing illness, his son Ahaziah (also called Jehoahaz in 21:17) reigned for only one year before he was killed (22:2).  His wicked mother Athaliah then killed her rivals and set herself up as a reigning queen, which lasted six years (23:1).  All of this resulted from Jehoshaphat’s close association with wicked Ahab’s family.  It is a good reminder that we are to be friendly toward those opposed to God but we are not to “be unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14).

July 1 — Obadiah 1, Ps. 82, 83 — Pride Before Falling (about 853 BC).  There is disagreement over the date of the writing of Obadiah.  Some scholars place it here during King Jehoram’s reign in Judah but it might fit even better later after the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 B.C.  In both timeframes, the people of Edom, descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau who lived SE of the Dead Sea, were involved in participating in an effort to wipe out the nation of Israel.  They were proud people who lived in apparent security “in the clefts of the rock,” like the cliff-city of Petra, and bragged, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” (Obad. 1:3).  God answered that He would bring them down (v. 4).  Edom was one of those opposing nations, saying, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” (Ps. 83:4).  The name of Israel still remains but where are the Edomites?  They don’t exist.  God’s judgment was that “you shall be cut off forever” (Obad. 1:10).  They were proud in their own strength but they fell through God’s judgment.  Check your own attitudes today as you are tempted to be proud of what you have, what you have done, or what you plan to do.  Pride comes before falling.

July 2 — 2 Kings 1-4 — The Shunammite Woman (about 852 – 849 BC).  I like this woman from Shunem.  Except for lying to her husband and to Elisha’s servant, she exhibited some great qualities.  She begged the frequently passing Elisha to stop for food (4:8) and ended up building a room for him at her house (v. 10), showing great hospitality.  In gratitude for her service, Elisha asked, “what is to be done for you?” (v. 13) but she responded that there was nothing she wanted, showing unselfishness.  Then, after her son died, she showed humility in urgent pleading before Elisha as “she caught hold of his feet” (v. 27).  After Elisha restored her child to life and told her, “Pick up your son” (v. 36), she first “fell at his feet, bowing to the ground” (v. 37) in gratitude.  Ladies, wouldn’t you have gone to your child first?!  This hospitable, unselfish, grateful woman provides a great example for all of us.

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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