My Two-Minute Summary of Today's Bible Reading

"So great is my veneration for the Bible, that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society."

          -John Quincy Adams

June

"Book of John Page," Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash
  

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June 1 (Proverbs)

We read proverbs that iterate wisdom that one can apply to a variety of subjects. Today I will point out a few that apply to education.

"A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool."

"It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning."

"Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge."

"To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper."

"Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions."

"If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge."

If only the students were still required to read these proverbs as they used to do during the American colonial period this country would look and act a whole lot better than it does today.

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In Massachusetts Old Deluder Satan Act of 1647 was written to ensure that children would be able to read and interpret the Bible for themselves so that they would not fall prey to Satan's delusions. The ideas contained in it were the foundational principles that early educational leaders used to shape public education.

To learn more about the Old Deluder Satan Act of 1647, click here.

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June 2 (Proverbs)

We read more random proverbs. I could publish several ones of any one of several subjects, but today I would like to point out a few that talk about the Lord's intimate knowledge of us.

"The Lord's light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive."

"The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; He will bring disaster on them."

"The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer Him sacrifices."

"No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord."

"People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart."

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June 3 (Proverbs)

We read "the 30 saying of the Wise." According to Dr. John MacArthur, these were compiled by, not composed by Solomon.  Within the first one the author states that the objective of the sayings are to increase the reader's trust in the Lord. They teach wisdom on a variety of subjects. Within saying #12 (25:12) is the proverb most quoted by writers of the New Testament. *

Finally, Solomon demonstrated how to learn to become wise as he narrated his thoughts as he observed the behavior of a lazy landowner.  Listen, watch, and pay attention to the words and actions of the wise and also consider the consequences that follow fools. Then stop to take time to ponder the ultimate outcomes of each one.

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* "24:12 He who weighs the hearts. This proverb is quoted or alluded to more times in the NT (8) than any other of Solomon's sayings (Matt. 16:27; Luke 16:15; Rom. 2:6; 2 Tim. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12, 13; 22:12)." "God is the One who know the truth about the motives of the heart and the excuses for failing to do what is right (cf. James 4:17). Render to each man according to his deeds. Cf. v.29; Job 34:11; Jeremiah 25:14; 50:29." MacArthur, 2005, p721. 

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June 4 (Song of Songs)

We read the Song of Songs. This title means that from Solomon's era through the exilic era of Jewish history, this was considered the "#1 song" on the "charts" so-to-speak.

Interestingly, there is no explicit mention of God and the New Testament writers never directly quoted it. 

Theologians' interpretive opinions have differences. For example, Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. Charles Ryrie believe that the book is an historical narrative composed by one author, Solomon. However others believe that, "While loosely connected in tradition with Solomon (one of the poems appears to observe his first wedding), ... they are not the work of a single poet, ... (a collection of 20-40 poems). The song teaches no lesson and tells no story. It extols human life in courtship and marriage by letting the lovers speak for themselves." -The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 1962, (R-Z), 424.

Either way, "It is given by God to demonstrate His intention for the romance and loveliness of marriage, the most precious of human relations and 'the grace of life'"   (1 Peter 3:7). -MacArthur, 2005, 744.

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June 5 (1 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Ecclesiastes)

We read about Solomon's downfall. The wisest man of all time caused all that he had so marvelously built to be completely destroyed. In spite of his 2 personal interactions with God, his abundance of wisdom, and his basking in the glory of an economic "Eden" of immeasurable prosperity during 40 years of unparalleled peace, he abandoned the God who made it all possible by rejecting His commands and by openly worshiping the detestable idol gods of the Sidonians, Moabites, and the Ammonites. In response, God raised up three adversaries (one internal and two external) and used the foolishness of Solomon's arrogant son, who succeeded him, to dismantle the kingdom. Through the prophet Ahijah, God made the same conditional promise (like the one He made to David) of an "enduring dynasty" to Jeroboam, of Ephraim, the first ruler of the northern tribes when the kingdom split.

Finally, we start reading Solomon's book of Ecclesiastes. His objective was to warn others that because of the complete permeation of mankind's sin and the resulting effects on all earthly creation, it is impossible for anyone to ever gain any lasting satisfaction from anything desired apart from living a life of faith, fully yielded to God.

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June 6 (Ecclesiastes)

We read what Solomon really thought about human existence on the earth. He repeatedly uses the word "vanity" in its various forms to communicate the futility in anyone trying to find satisfaction in life apart from God. Using his seemingly unlimited time and resources, he set out to make sense of the meaning and purpose of life. He observed the imperfections of human relationships and the disappointment that comes from a life of striving to fulfill his (temporal) desires. This is the constant theme throughout the book. The overarching inference is that man's brief lifespan is hemmed in and restrained so that his abilities and imagined possibilities are limited to God's plan. Like a bug in a jar that can see the unlimited expanse of creation, he is at the mercy of the one holding the lid. No matter what he does or what happens to him in the jar, the only important factor is ultimately determined by whether or not he pleases the jar holder. However, this frustrated opinion of earthy living was redeemed by his concluding verses (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). It was these verses that helped some troubled early theologians to overcome their objections before agreeing to canonize the book of Ecclesiastes.

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June 7 (Ecclesiastes)

We read more wise observations of various subjects from Solomon as a preacher. He probably meant for these to be meditated on more intently and in smaller increments, but doing that would hinder our goal to get through the whole Bible in a year. Remember that his goal is to remind us that there is no absolute perfection to be gained in this fallen world and that we should to do the best we can with what we have received while remembering that there will be an ultimate righteous judgment of our individual life choices in the end.

Here are some select verses about good versus evil. "Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins." "God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path." "When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong." "That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own mad course, for they have no hope." 

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June 8 (Ecclesiastes, 1 Kings, and 2 Chronicles)

We read the conclusion of Ecclesiastes where Solomon warned and reminded that each person should make wise choices in life because God will judge their every thought and action. We already read the account of Solomon's death back on 6/5. Next, his foolish son Rehoboam met with all Israel in Shechem for his coronation, but the people first asked him to relieve them from the heavy burden of labor and taxes. Rehoboam rejected the wise advice of the elders and stupidly followed the whims of his spoiled peers, fulfilling the prophecy that the kingdom would split. The 10 northern tribes then crowned Jeroboam. God warned Rehoboam against civil war so he ruled only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Jeroboam feared that his subjects might be persuaded to reunite with Rehoboam whenever they made their three annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem. So he set up two golden calves and accompanying pagan altars to divert the pilgrims from entering the southern territory. Finally, since Jeroboam employed non-Levites as priests, the Levites abandoned all of their properties and immigrated to Judah, along with all the other devotees of the one true God. 

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June 9 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We will begin reading more historical narrative than I can adequately abridge within this short space. In addition, from now on each day there will be two simultaneous historical narratives given because the kingdom split into "Judah" in the south and "Israel" in the north. 

So my summary of today's reading is that God's covenant with (Israel-N) was broken by King Jeroboam's national promotion of idol worship. An unnamed prophet accurately prophesied the name of the king (Josiah) who would purge the land of pagan worship some 300 years later (7/29's reading). Jeroboam refused to repent and as prophesied, his son Nadab succeeded him, but Baasha assassinated him and murdered his entire household to make himself king of the 10 northern tribes of Israel (N). In Judah (S) the Lord allowed King Shishak of Egypt to attack Jerusalem, taking all of Solomon's glorious gold. God allowed Judah (S) to become subjects of Egypt so that "they will know the difference between serving the [merciful] God and serving [cruel] man." Finally, Asa (a good king and David's great, great, grandson) was crowned king in Judah (S).

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June 10 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

The historical narrative becomes a little more confusing in this part because it is being drawn from three books. The books of 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings which recorded the history of both kingdoms, but 1&2 Chronicles only focused on the southern kingdom because that was the home of its intended readers.*  The confusion can also come from the names.** King Asa (Judah-S) was constantly at war with King Baasha (Israel-N). Baasha was fortifying a stronghold to support his attacks southward. To alleviate this threat, King Asa (Judah-S) used the rest of the Temple valuables to buy out Baasha's ally. For his lack of faith, God caused King Asa's reign to be in a constant state of war. Then his son Jehoshaphat (a good king) succeeded him. Zimri assassinated King Baasha (Israel-N) and reigned for only one week because Omri assassinated him. Next his son Ahab (who married Jezebel) succeeded him as Israel's (N) king. It was during this time that Joshua's curse came to pass.*** Finally, the prophet Elijah suddenly appears to King Ahab to command a drought to be inflicted over the land.

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*The overarching purpose of 1&2 Chronicles was to encourage the returning Jews who had been exiled to Babylon for 70 years to wholeheartedly return to God. The author inferred that the exile was the result of the Jew's departure from the Mosaic Law. The recurring emphasis is that obedience will invite the return of God's blessings and rebellion will result in even more horrific consequences. Since polytheistic idolatry was the worst offense, the adherence to monotheism, "one God only," became their theological mantra. This is one reason why the idea of "Jesus" being equal to "God" was so offensive to the Pharisees. 1&2 Chronicles only records information about Israel (N) during events where both kingdoms are involved.

**There are men of the same or similar names and characters with more than one name: there are two named Ahijah, two named Jehoram, two named Jehoash, two named Jehoahaz, two named Jehoshaphat, two named Abijah, with one of them also being called Abijam, and Uzziah also being called Azariah. There is a Jeroboam I and a Jeroboam II. And additionally, there is also a Jehoiakim and a Jehoiachin.

***The curse was that any man who would rebuild Jericho (Israel-N) would suffer the untimely deaths of his oldest and youngest sons (from 3/23 reading).

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June 11 (1 Kings)

We read how God provided for Elijah's needs by having him ask a starving widow for her and her son's last meal of bread. In response to her obedient faith, God miraculously sustained her food supply for the entire 3-year famine. Later, the boy died of an illness and her faith in God was strengthened when Elijah raised him back to life. Elijah challenged eight hundred fifty false prophets of Baal to engage in dueling sacrifices and subsequently won. He executed all the false prophets. This ended the famine, but he hid himself in fear of Jezebel's threat to kill him. God informed him that he was not the last believer. God instructed him to anoint the three important characters that we will read about on 6/16 & 6/17. Finally, God sent an unnamed prophet to instruct King Ahab (Israel-N) on how to defeat the king of Aram. (My opinion is that this was probably the only time King Ahab ever obeyed God.)

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June 12 (1 Kings)

We read how Israel (N) was attacked again the following spring as foretold by the prophet. Since it was a "holy war" everything had to be completely destroyed (Deuteronomy 7:2; 20:16). Ahab should have paid attention to the Bible lesson about King Saul's disobedience (4/13 reading). God defeated the much larger enemy forces, but King Ahab (Israel-N) spared the defeated king and even made a treaty with him. For this choice, God promised to apply the horrors that He had planned for the enemy to now be applied to Ahab and his family. Then Ahab and Jezebel murdered their neighbor so that they could steal his vineyard. God responded by promising shameful deaths for each of them, but since Ahab humbled himself, God delayed his punishment. Finally, good King Jehoshaphat (Judah-S) arranged for his son to marry Ahab and Jezebel's daughter. (Oh, what a dysfunctional family that must have been.) As allies, the two kings made plans to regain lost Israeli (N) land, but Jehoshaphat wanted to get spiritual advice from "a prophet of the Lord." So King Ahab reluctantly called for Micaiah.

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June 13 (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read the account of the prophet Micaiah who informed King Ahab (Israel-N) that he would die in battle and the soldiers would be scattered on the mountains. Ahab tried to thwart God's plan by disguising himself in battle, but a "randomly shot" arrow mortally wounded him in spite of his armor. His chariot was washed out where the prostitutes bathed and the dogs licked up his blood (this was the undignified death that God had promised in the 6/12 reading). Prophet Jehu chastised Jehoshaphat (Judah-S) for helping Ahab (Israel-N), but he was also commended for the way he promoted justice and spiritual purity. A vast enemy army approached Jerusalem (Judah-S). Jehoshaphat called for fasting and prayer. God told Jehoshaphat to watch Him work. So as they drew their battle lines, Jehoshaphat's singers began praising God and the enemies each turned against the other so that not one of them survived. The Jews collected the plunder from the enemy camps for 4 days and returned to Jerusalem as wealthy victors. The surrounding enemies were too afraid of heaven's armies to ever attack Jehoshaphat again.

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June 14 (1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles)

We read how the prophet Elijah confronted King Ahaziah's (Israel-N) servants with a message of judgment for seeking council from Baal rather than from God. In response he sent 50 troops to bring Elijah in, but they were incinerated when they "commanded" him to come. Then another 50 were burned up when they "demanded" that he come. Finally, the last 50 "pleaded" for him to come. Whereupon, he simply repeated the same message from God and Ahaziah died. His brother Joram (Israel-N) took over and then was joined by King Jehoshaphat (Judah-S) and the king of Edom in a war against Moab. As they arrived, they found themselves in a parched land and feared that they all may die of dehydration. Then God performed a miracle by flooding the land before a red sunrise that caused the Moabites to assume that the allies had killed each other. When they broke their battle lines to rush in for the plunder they learned too late that they were running right into the deadly aim of the allies and were subsequently defeated. Finally, Jehoshaphat (Judah-S), a good king, died, but his eldest son, Jehoram killed all his brothers and other unrelated leaders to assure his grip on the throne. His wife was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.

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June 15 (2 Kings)

We read how Elijah, whose ministry was almost exclusively conducted in the geographic area of the northern kingdom, wrote a letter of prophesy against King Jehoram (Judah-S) (See comment). Somehow being revealed to him that Elijah would be taken away (as Enoch did in 1/2's reading), Elisha refused to leave Elijah's side. Elijah struck and parted the Jordan River with his coat rolled up, (possibly to imitate Moses' staff). Elisha asked for a double-portion of God's Spirit to confirm him (maybe symbolically similar as the custom of the firstborn birthright) to be Elijah's chosen successor. Elijah was taken to heaven without dying by a whirlwind that followed a fiery chariot. Elisha's first miracles were: the parting of the Jordan River, neutralizing Joshua's curse over Jericho by purifying the water, disciplining insolent youths with a horrific bear attack, providing oil for a needy widow and her sons, providing a barren woman with a son, later raising that son from the dead, purifying poisoned food for a group of prophets, and multiplying twenty loaves of bread to feed 100 people.

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I comment on this letter here even though the letter is not actually presented until the 6/17 reading because he obviously wrote the letter before he departed to heaven.  I do not know why the letter is placed there except that throughout these readings there are two historical narratives being presented pretty much simultaneously and the focus in today's reading is on the transfer of the prophetic office from Elijah to Elisha. Also, on 6/17 we will read the fulfillment of the prophecy so maybe the compilers wanted to place the two events close together on the same page.

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June 16 (2 Kings)

We read how Elisha healed Naaman, commander of the Aramean army, of his leprosy, but would not accept a gift in return from this formerly pagan enemy. Then Elisha's greedy servant Gehazi, through deception and lies hid the gifts in his house (and then he also received Naaman's leprosy). Elisha caused an iron ax head to float on water. He informed the king of Israel (N) of his enemy's secret conversations that took place hundreds of miles away. He blinded the entire attacking Aramean army and led them into a trap. He accurately predicted the end of Samaria's (Israel-N) capital deadly besiegement and the 7-year length of the famine. Finally, he accurately (and mournfully) foretold Hazael that he would become the king of Aram and Israel's cruel oppressor, yet there appears to be no evidence that he ever warned Israel about their future suffering. There must have been a reason and it must have been heavy on his mind. This must surely be one of the unpleasant consequences of knowing the future and yet having to obey God by not messing with His plan.

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June 17 (2 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read how God dealt His earthly judgment on Ahab's corruption during his son Joram's reign in Israel (N) and Jehoram's reign in Judah (S). Elijah sent a letter to Jehoram (This account is out-of-place. Elijah previously went to heaven in the 6/14 reading. Maybe he used "snail mail.") The letter detailed the prophecy of Jehoram's painful and undignified death in response for leading his people into idolatry and for murdering all his brothers. Ahaziah succeeded him and reigned for only one year in Judah (S). Elisha's student anointed Jehu King over Israel (N) and told him to wipe out King Ahab's dynasty, including Queen Jezebel. Jehu killed Joram (Israel-N) and Ahaziah (Judah-S). At this point, for a brief period, there was no king in Judah (S), but tomorrow we will read how the dead king's mother wiped out all of her male relatives (except one, "Hide-n-seek" was more than just child's play back then) to crown herself as queen of Judah (S). Jehu faked his zeal for Baal worship so that he could attract all the false prophets for a mass execution. God commended King Jehu for obeying His instructions and rewarded him with a four-generation dynasty, but Jehu did not undo King Jeroboam's golden calf worship. 

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June 18 (2 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read how Athaliah, daughter of former Queen Jezebel (of Israel-N), murdered all her relatives including her own grandchildren after learning of her son's death, to make herself queen of Judah (S). She reigned for seven years. Then Priest Jehoiada organized the loyal guards for protection and brought out her only surviving grandson that had been saved as an infant by Jehosheba, * and had been raised in secret within the Temple during Queen Athaliah's reign (Obviously she did not spend much time there.)** Upon seeing him, she cried, "Treason!" But she was killed and the people rejoiced. Priest Jehoiada led the purification and reformation of worship in the Temple and the Lord rewarded him with one hundred thirty years of life. Joash was a good king for forty years, but then after Jehoiada's death he abandoned the Lord and murdered his loyal mentor's son Zechariah, for accusing the leaders of abandoning the Lord. Finally, King Jehu (Israel-N) died after a twenty-eight year reign. (Since Joash was an infant when Jehu killed his father Ahaziah, this would make King Joash at this point, about twenty-seven years old.)

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*Jehosheba, (also called Jehoshabeath) was the daughter of King Jehoram (also called Joram). So that made her both Joash's aunt and the wife of the high priest, Jehoiada. "The only instance of a princess marrying a high priest." (All the Women of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer, p72)

**Joash's survival was very crucial at this point in history because he was the only remaining male offspring of King David's royal line.

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June 19 (2 Kings and 2 Chronicles)

We read that in response to King Jehoahaz's (Israel-N) wickedness God allowed the Arameans to defeat him repeatedly. Finally, he prayed to the Lord and received a temporary reprieve because the Lord saw was how severely Israel was being oppressed. But since the Israelites still did not repent, the Lord progressively weakened them. His son Jehoash succeeded him. Then from his own deathbed, in disappointment, Elisha prophesied only 3 victories over the Arameans. Finally, a note was made that God did not allow Israel (N) to be totally destroyed because He pitied them and because of the covenants He made to the patriarchs.

Meanwhile in the south, because King Hazael of Aram's little army had also soundly defeated Judah's much larger army, killed all the national leaders, and was in the process of attacking Jerusalem, King Joash sent him all the palace treasures and all the items previously "dedicated" to the Lord in the Temple. The Arameans withdrew, but left King Joash severely wounded. Then his trusted adviser's assassinated him in retribution for his role in the murder of high priest Zechariah. His son Amaziah succeeded him.

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June 20 (2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Jonah)

We read about King Amaziah of Judah (S). 2 Kings mostly focused on his good deeds, but 2 Chronicles condemned his apostasy (See comment). In the beginning he personally obeyed the Lord, but permitted pagan worship in the land. Then after proudly defeating the Edomites he syncretized his worship of God with the Edomite idols. His pride was the vehicle God used to have him soundly defeated by King Jehoash of Israel. The Temple and palace treasures and hostages (including King Amaziah) were taken back to Samaria, the capital of Israel. Jeroboam II succeeded Jehoash (Israel-N). Then Amaziah (Judah-S), apparently returned to Jerusalem where he totally abandoned the Lord and was assassinated. His son Uzziah (also called Azariah) succeeded him at the age of 16. Years later, his son Jotham ruled because Uzziah became leprous. It was during this period of time that God sent the proud prophet Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh (the capital city of Assyria) to repent or face God's judgment within 40 days. He rebelled. God repeated. He returned. They repented. God relented. He resented. Jonah was more concerned about is prophetic reputation and his nationalism than he was for lost souls.

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Remember that 1&2 Kings is mostly focused on recording the facts of Hebrew history while 1&2 Chronicles goal is to emphasize to the returning exiles from Babylon the benefits of righteous obedience.

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June 21 (Amos)

We read of God's judgment on Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel through the prophet Amos. He was a Judean (S) that was sent by God to preach primarily to Israel (N). Judah (S) and Israel (N) at this time were enjoying the financial benefits of peace, but Assyria was quietly maturing into the eventual menace that will make them a major player in world history (especially for Israel (N)). Their present economic boom gave rise to hometown oppressors of the poor and widespread moral corruption. God evidenced that His slowness to get angry for their sins was being threatened by His compulsive desire to relieve the righteous poor and humble people from their oppressors. A pertinent statement can be applied to the USA: "Those who are smart keep their mouths shut, (or filter their comments on social media) for it is an evil time." "What sorrow awaits you who say, 'If only the day of the Lord were here!' You have no idea what you are wishing for. That day will bring darkness, not light" Amos 5:18. Finally, he prophesied that God was about to bring an enemy (Assyria) against the whole territory of Israel (N). Assyria will soon prove to be one of the most cruel, ruthless, and merciless oppressors in world history.

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June 22 (Amos, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah)

We read Amos' vision of locusts, of fire, of a plumb line, of ripe fruit, and of God at the Altar. Each one represented a warning of Israel's (N) impending doom. God said that He would send a famine of "hearing the words of the Lord." People will crave the Word, but will fail to be satisfied because they have mocked His convicting [Holy Spirit's] call beyond His very generous patience. Before their exile the number of prophets abounded, but in their exile the Lord had filtered His righteous remnant out from the general population. However, He also promised a future (millennial kingdom) restoration. Zechariah (the fourth and final generation) promised by God to Jehu (compare 2 Kings 10:30 & 2 Kings 15:11) succeeded Jeroboam II (Israel-N).  Shallum assassinated him. Then Shallum was assassinated by Menahem a month later. Pekahiah succeeded him, but Pekah assassinated him. Then the Assyrians attacked and began exiling the Israelites. Jotham succeeded King Uzziah (Judah-S). It was during this time that Isaiah's ministry began. He saw the Lord in the Temple and confessed his sins. He received cleansing forgiveness and he responded by answering the divine call to proclaim the Word of the Lord. 

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June 23 (2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Micah, and Isaiah)

We read that King Jotham (Judah-S), son of Uzziah lived righteously, but the people did not. So God sent enemies (including Israel-N) to attack Judah. Ahaz succeeded King Jotham, but he was evil. He even sacrificed his sons in a fire. So God allowed Israel to conquer them, but the prophet Oded warned them that God was already angry over their own sins and that their merciless slaughter of their own relatives just added to it. The prophet Micah began his lament over Samaria (N) and Jerusalem (S) because God promised to reward their idolatry with defeat and exile as Assyria was poised to begin her attack on them.

Isaiah prophesied to King Ahaz (Judah-S) that within sixty-five years Israel would be completely destroyed. God revealed a spiritual truth that has a physical result, "Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm." Foolish Ahaz rejected faith in God by ignoring God's challenge to request a sign of confirmation so God promised to bring enemy nations against Judah (S) that will include a level of cruelty unlike any others in history. Then God provided the sign of His choosing, "a virgin will conceive a child..."

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June 24 (Isaiah)

We read Isaiah's writings concerning God's punishment of Israel and Judah's sins of self-reliance and the wicked people's oppression of the weaker people. He prophesied that the population of Judah (S) is going to be overwhelmed and completely saturated by Assyrians. But that the Assyrian king who attacks them with great violence is unaware that he is God's disciplinary tool. In the end he will be destroyed for arrogantly assuming that his military success was accomplished by his own might. The leadership labeled Isaiah (and Jeremiah in 8/15's reading) "traitors" for speaking out against forming alliances with other countries (rather than simply depending on and obeying the Lord).

Today's reading is peppered with prophecies of King Jesus' royal essence. Even though God's people will appear to be completely wiped out, a remnant will return from the diaspora to be His willing worshipers.

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June 25 (2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, and Hosea)

We begin reading Isaiah's song of praise for salvation as a response to his prophesy about the Day of the coming of Jesus and His millennial kingdom. He also prophesied that after much tribulation, Israel will eventually look to her Creator. Then King Ahaz (Judah-S) requested help from King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, who did come but instead of helping, he attacked him. Thinking that the Assyrian god was more powerful than the God of Judah (S), he closed the Temple and set up pagan altars to their idol. His son Hezekiah began ruling together with Ahaz but his heart was right with God, (as equal to David's), so his first order of business was to reinstate the worship of God. In Israel, Hoshea assassinated King Pekah (apparently with Assyria's assistance), but his secret conspiracy with Egypt landed him in an Assyrian prison. It was during this time that God began to give the prophet Hosea some very strange instructions; such as to marry and have children with an adulterous woman as an object lesson to Israel. Hosea represented God's faithfulness, Gomer represented unfaithful Israel, and their children represented God's judgment on the situation.   

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June 26 (Hosea)

We read Hosea's prophesy that Israel will one day wholeheartedly return to God as an unfaithful wife who returns to her husband. Then Hosea reveled more evidence of Israel's apostasy. A recurring complaint is that the people (and even the priests) do not know God. So the resulting consequence for their ignorance was always trouble, "For as soon as trouble comes, they will earnestly search for Me [God]." Hosea 5:15.

Hosea then called for repentance, but the people loved their wickedness, especially involving fornication and violence, too much to return to God for forgiveness. Unfortunately, when trouble comes, God will not immediately answer because they repeatedly and consistently committed sins of "a high hand" in the face of God. Hosea brought his adulterous wife back and isolated her from all sexual contact as a sign that one day, (maybe the present age) she [Israel] will exist for a long time without a king, prince, sacrifices, priests, or even idols, until Jesus returns to set up His millennial kingdom. (Ezekiel 40-48; Zechariah 12-14) MacArthur, 2005, p974.

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June 27 (Hosea)

We read entirely from Hosea. First, He announced Israel's punishment for their depravity and idolatry. Through Hosea God lamented how Israel began fresh and clean, but soon became corrupt and vile as they increasingly took His blessing of prosperity for granted. So now the terrors of violence from within and without will overtake their homes. Among the prophesied pains are repeated calls for repentance, but since they refused to serve the merciful God, they will be subject to unmerciful invaders. God revealed an emotional vulnerability when He lamented, "My heart is torn within Me." 11:8b. God evidenced Israel's sins, yet even in the midst of severe judgment He tenderly offered restoration.  

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June 28 (2 Kings and Isaiah)

We read Isaiah's message to the people of Samaria (capital of Israel-N). Since they refused to listen to the plain words o God's law, now they will have to hear from Him through the foreign language of their vicious oppressors. The Assyrians did invade and deport all the Israelites to a foreign land. Then they imported conquered foreigners from other lands to populate the land of Israel. God killed some with wild lions because He was not being worshiped. So the king of Assyria sent back some of the Lord's priests to teach these imported foreign occupiers how to worship God. However, they continued to also worship their own gods (religious syncretism). Then Isaiah warned the residents of Judah that they were going to be "next" to be invaded if they did not repent. 

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June 29 (Isaiah)

We read God's message though Isaiah to Jerusalem (capital of Judah-S). God will take revenge on His enemies. These are not foreign nationals. These are all who oppress the poor and helpless, who love bribes and corruption, and all who refuse to know Him. Yet, "...Those who repent will be revived by righteousness." Isaiah 1:27b. Part of the judgment will be the strife and stress found rampant among neighbors and family members. The leadership will become so weak that there will be no prerequisite qualifications required for candidates, except that he owns a coat. But, "tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned." Isaiah 3:10. Those who "never think about the Lord or notice what He is doing" (5:12b) will be deported, but in the final days God will purge the land and righteous international believers will sing while they ascend to the house of God for true worship. (Isaiah 2:1-5).

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June 30 (2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah)

We read about the death of King Ahaz in Judah (S) and that his son Hezekiah succeeded him. Hezekiah will prove to be a good king who was referenced over one hundred times collectively by the authors of the books of 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Micah. But before we read about him we read Isaiah's prophecies against Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, and Moab. God explained His objective by describing the drama of a winegrower whose vines produced sour grapes, even though all the conditions for success were present. In his disappointment, he destroyed it.

Isaiah's prophesy against the king of Babylon strangely includes a mixture elements that include of the description of Satan's failed attempt to over throw heaven.

Isaiah's prophesy against Moab includes a promise that one of David's descendants will assume the throne as a perfect king. This must be describing the essence of Jesus' during His Millennial reign.

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