August 3

2 Chronicles 33:14–34:33

King Manasseh experienced something unparalleled in the history of Israel and Judah – he was taken into captivity, but he wasn’t imprisoned for life, or executed on the spot, miraculously he was restored back to Jerusalem as king. This is unheard of, but God showed him much mercy.

When Manasseh returned as king he took away the altars to the pagan gods, he restored the altar of the LORD, and the nation of Judah seemed to return to the God with him.

Never underestimate the influence of a godly leader and the power of one’s testimony. There’s no doubt the nation was in awe of the return of Manasseh and his return to the LORD.

Manasseh’s son Amon however, was an evil king. We don’t know for sure, because every child has a free will, but Amon grew up seeing all the wickedness his father had done as king before he was saved, and it may have taken its toll. We read this about Amon in:

2 Chronicles 33:23 (NKJV) “And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.

His reign didn’t last long (2 years) he was executed by servants in his own house. His son Josiah was then crowned king at the tender age of 8-years-old. Josiah has a good summary:

2 Chronicles 34:2 (NKJV) “And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”

When Josiah was 16-years-old he began to seek the LORD the way King David had. When he was 20-years-old he began to purge the nation of all idolatry. He took part in this himself – he traveled the nation, even venturing up into the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) to break down pagan altars. When he was 26-years-old he began to repair the temple of the LORD. They delivered the funds to the workers of the LORD and they began to clean house and repair the dilapidations. While they were working in the House of God, they found something that had been lost in all the rubble, they found the Word of God (their Bible).

Imagine losing the Bible in the House of God – the church! But it’s very possible. We know the enemy hates God’s Word and he’s tried to destroy it from day one. We also know that much of the church is not too interested in reading their Bibles – most are more interested in worldly things. Some pastors don’t preach it, they deliver inspirational messages from the pulpit, and positive self-help talks. The USA used to be a nation that esteemed God’s Word, we even taught it in public schools, but tragically the trend nowadays is that we are becoming Biblically illiterate – at an alarming rate. I commend you for reading your Bibles, in order to listen, learn, and live God’s Word.

When they read the Bible to King Josiah, he tore his clothes in anguish, he knew that his country had broken God’s law and was worthy of judgment. He sent some ambassadors to the prophetess Huldah to inquire as to the future of the nation in light of the Word. The prophetess responded to the king personally: 

2 Chronicles 34:27–28 (NKJV) “…because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the LORD. 28 ‘Surely I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place and its inhabitants.’ So they brought back word to the king.”

King Josiah then gathered the elders, and leaders, with all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites, all the people great and small, and he read them the Bible.

2 Chronicles 34:31 (NKJV) “Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the LORD, to follow the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.”

Sometimes I look at our country and I say, “It’s too late, we’ve gone too far, done too much evil.” But then I read the account of Manasseh and Josiah. Under the leadership of Josiah especially, there was a turning to the LORD. We even read this about the nation under Josiah’s influence:

2 Chronicles 34:33 (NKJV) “…All his days they did not depart from following the LORD God of their fathers.

If I had to guess, I would say it’s too late for the USA. But maybe, just maybe there’s a Josiah out there somewhere, ready to take his place. And maybe, just maybe we will find the Bible as a church and a nation, and return to God’s Word.

Romans 16:10-27

So many names, so many people Paul wanted to greet, including the mother of Rufus who was like a mother to him.

There’s no doubt that these fellow Christians were fellow laborers in the Gospel. One thing’s for sure, even people like Paul need helpers. No one can do this on his or her own, so we thank God for all those people who labor behind the scenes. God knows their names, they’re written in His book, dear to His heart and He will reward every single one of them one day.

The protective part of Paul resurfaces as he warns the church in Rome to take note and avoid those who cause divisions and offenses in the church – they don’t serve the Lord, they serve themselves (Romans 16:17-18). 

He follows this warning with reasoning, how God has done such a good work in them and he doesn’t want anyone to ruin that work. They were to be wise concerning good, simple concerning evil, and encouraged by the fact that the day will come when the God of peace will crush Satan under our feet. O Lord, I look forward to that day!

After the final farewells Paul closes this theological masterpiece with a benediction – how God is able to establish the people with the power of this Gospel, Jews and Gentiles alike, for obedience to the faith. What a wonderful salvation for the good of the people and the glory of God, so simple and yet so profound as we read back in 

Romans 1:17b (NKJV) “…the just shall live by faith.”

Psalm 26:1-12

David was indeed a godly man and he asked the LORD to move on his behalf in light of that godliness. He asked God to vindicate him, to protect him, to have mercy on him according to his integrity, his trust, his mind, his heart, his walk, his hatred for sin, his love for God’s house, his promise to preach and practice what he preached.

Let me just say, there is a place for that, God DOES bless obedience, and I do encourage you to pray and obey.

But, with New Testament light, I don’t usually base my prayers on my righteousness. I ask God to vindicate me, to protect me, to give me that victory, ONLY on the basis of His righteousness (Luke 18:13).

Proverbs 20:19

Proverbs 20:19 (NKJV) “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.”

What Solomon is saying here, is that usually a gossip is also a flatterer.

It can be difficult to discern between a genuine compliment and flattery, but God will show you. Once you discover that type of manipulation, Solomon says do not associate with that person. It goes hand-in-hand with what Solomon wrote back in:

Proverbs 12:26a (NKJV) “The righteous should choose his friends carefully…”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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