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Showing posts from March, 2014

God's Love Letter

I have a new book coming out soon. You can read more about it and pre-order it here: My Web Site.

You can also read a sample chapter in a series of three blog posts here: Job 31 Ministries.

1 Chronicles 18-21

“And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.” (1 Chronicles 18:13) This is part of the Chronicler’s glowing account of the reign of King David, even more glowing than the account of Samuel and Kings. If indeed the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went, and this is not merely the Chronicler rose-colored view of things, then we must confess that this is not the way the Lord usually works. Perhaps we would all like to know victory, or success, like David seemingly did. However, the fact is that most of us do not. I do not think there is anyone in life that experiences unbridled success. Most people, even ones who are eventually successful in life, experience a considerable amount of failure first. Remember, according to Samuel, David spent a lot of time hanging out in caves, on the run from the law of the land, before he became king. When we experience weakness and failure, then we are in good company, for our Lord did too. We are told that there were places where Jesus coul…

1 Chronicles 14-17

This is my 500th blog post since joining Blogger in 2006! Without further ado, here it is…. Throughout these chapters, the Chronicler emphasizes the qualities that made King David a great man of God. David… Inquired of God. (1 Chronicles 14:10, 14)Commanded the gods of the Philistines to be burned. (14:12)Did as God had commanded him. (14:16)Prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. (15:1)Commanded that no one but the Levites were to carry the ark of God. (15:2)Appointed certain of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord… (16:4)Appointed the singing of praises to the Lord by Asaph and his kindred. (16:7)Went home to bless his household. (16:43)Desired to build a house for the ark of God (17:1 ff.)
Notice that when the ark is brought up to Jerusalem, David dances before the ark, just as in 2 Samuel, and his wife Michal despises him. However, there is no suggestion here, as there is in 2 Samuel, that David did anything risqué. The Chronicler definitely pres…

1 Chronicles 10-13

As we have seen in Boadt’s introduction to the Books of Chronicles, the author(s) of these books are re-telling the story of Israel in such a way that is most relevant to their purposes in rebuilding a nation being re-settled in Judah, and Jerusalem in particular, after the exile. Much of the story is copied verbatim from the books of Samuel and Kings. However, there are new emphases:  Saul’s unfaithfulness to the Lord is clearly pointed out and contrasted with the faithfulness of David, who comes off without a blemish in the record of Chronicles. Everything in this story happens “according to the word of the Lord” (11:3; 12:23). The word of God is an important emphasis for Ezra, whom we will later see as a teacher of the word.
We read here of the men of Issachar “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”. That description would serve well for the person or persons who wrote the Books of Chronicles, as well as Ezra and Nehemiah. They were people who understood…

1 Chronicles 5-9

These chapters continue the genealogy lists from Adam to post-exilic Judah. Here is the rest of Boadt’s introduction to the Books of Chronicles that sets all of this in context…. Because of the changed world of Israel after the exile, the priestly leaders felt the need for an updated version of Israel’s history. They took up and rewrote the great Deuteronomistic history found in the Books of Samuel and Kings from their own perspective. No doubt one important reason to do this was to explain the proper role of the kings over Israel in the past now that they were gone for good. Another was to emphasize the temple for religious worship. Chronicles often follows the Books of Samuel and Kings word for word through whole chapters. But we get a sense of its distinctive message when we compare the many places where it either leaves out matter found in Kings or adds to it new material. In the story of David, for example, it leaves out altogether his terrible sin with Bathsheba, or the revolt of …

1 Chronicles 1-4

With the opening of 1 Chronicles, we come once again to what is probably one of the most boring bits of the Bible for readers today: genealogies. In fact, the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are taken up with genealogies that cover the time period from Adam to post-exilic Judah; it is quite a scope. Furthermore, there is very little narrative here to hold the reader’s attention. In the first four chapters, practically the only thing of note is the comment on a man named Jabez. Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!” And God granted what he asked. (1 Chronicles 4:10) It must have been a good prayer, despite being a tad selfish, since God granted Jabez’s request. One modern day author, Bruce Wilkinson, found this prayer fascinating enough to write an entire book about it. Published in 2000, The Prayer of Jabez became a bestseller. However, besides t…

C. S. Lewis & The Island of his Birth

I have a new book review posted on the HarperCollins C. S. Lewis blog. You can read it here: C. S. Lewis & The Island of his Birth

2 Kings 21-25

We come now to the account of the last kings of Judah before the exile to Babylon. Manasseh was one of, if not the most evil kings ever to reign over Judah according to the authors/editors of 2 Kings. The authors/editors devote an entire chapter to the evils that Manasseh committed. It was because of the bad things Manasseh did that the Lord took Judah into exile. Manasseh reigned from 687 to 642 having enjoyed co-regency with his father Hezekiah from 697. It is amazing but true that one of the worst kings followed one of the best kings. What is it about the good kings of Judah that leads them not to train their sons effectively in the ways of Yahweh? Of course, no parent can take full responsibility for the choices of their children. Our children will make their own choices as they grow up. However, it seems to be a repeated theme in 1 and 2 Kings that either the royal parents fail in their job of training up their children in the ways of the Lord or the royal children are extremely …

2 Kings 17-20

We have now come down to the last three evil kings of Israel: Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea. The last of these kings became a vassal of King Shalmaneser of Assyria, who then invaded, deported the Israelites and settled other people in their land. The perspective of the author of 2 Kings was that “This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God…” (2 Kings 17:7) By contrast, 2 Kings 18-20 focuses on good king Hezekiah of Judah who reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. 2 Kings offers a more glowing account of Hezekiah than any other king of Judah. “He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him.” (2 Kings 18:5) The thing that really set Hezekiah apart was not only that he set about a great reform and return for Judah to wholehearted worship of Yahweh, but that every time he faced potential calamity, he turned to the Lord in prayer. When King Sennacher…

2 Kings 13-16

In these four chapters, we cover quite a number of kings. I am finding, as I try to track the years that these kings reigned, that Lawrence Boadt’s years do not match the Scripture very well. The bottom line is that different scholars have different estimates for the exact years that the kings of Israel and Judah reigned. The dates we are most sure of are the dates when both kingdoms came to an end. In the chart below I am following dates taken from this web site: http://ldolphin.org/kings.html…. IsraelJudah Jehoahaz (814-798, evil)Amaziah (796-767, good) Jehoash (798-782, evil)Uzziah/Azariah (767-740, good) Jeroboam II (782-753, evil)Jotham (740-732, good) Zechariah (753-752, evil)Ahaz (732-716, bad) Shallum (752, evil) Menahem (752-742, evil) Many of the accounts in this section do not give us many details about these kings. However, we are given a bit of narrative with some of them. Jehoahaz of Israel was evil. The Lord responded to this by giving Israel repeatedly into the hands of the Ki…

2 Kings 9-12

It is easy to get lost in the list of Kings of Israel and Judah. Therefore, here is an updated list of the kings up to this point in our narrative, including the years that they reigned and whether they were good or evil…. IsraelJudah Jeroboam (922-901, evil)Rehoboam (922-915, evil) Nadab (901-900, evil)Abijam (915-913, evil) Baasha (900-877, evil)Asa (913-873, good) Elah (877-876, evil) Jehoshaphat (873-849, good) Zimri (876, evil)Jehoram (849-842, evil) Omri (876-869, evil)Ahaziah (842, evil) Ahab (869-850, evil)Athaliah (842-837, evil) Joram (849-842, evil)Jehoash (837-800, good) Jehu (842-815, good & evil)Amaziah (800-783, good & evil) Lawrence Boadt has this helpful summary of 1 and 2 Kings…. The two Books of Kings tell the story of the period from David’s death to the fall of the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 B. C. before the Babylonians. Thus, in one sense, they can be called the history of David’s dynasty, although the picture they present is much larger. It includes the strugg…