Day 210 (July 29): Manasseh rules in Judah for 55 years and revives to idol, Assyrian commanders captured Manasseh worship, Manasseh humbled himself to God, Amon rules Jerusalem with evil for 2 years, Josiah took over for 31 years and pleased God, Jeremiah’s call to prophesy, God speaks against Israel, Israel’s demise

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 21:1-9

2 Chronicles 33:1-9

2 Kings 21:10-17

2 Chronicles 33:10-19

2 Kings 21:18

2 Chronicles 33:20

2 Kings 21:19-26

2 Chronicles 33:21-25

2 Kings 22:1-2

2 Chronicles 34:1-7

Jeremiah 1:1-3

Jeremiah 1:4-19

Jeremiah 2:1-22

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 21:1-18, 2 Chronicles 33:1-20): I wasn’t getting it.  I was confused because I thought Hezekiah was a godly king.  I didn’t understand why there was all of this impending doom unless the people weren’t following the king’s lead.  I thought the end of Jerusalem was going to happen under Hezekiah.  Now, it makes sense since there were successive kings — Hezekiah’s son and grandson — who promoted idol worship.  This scripture was a page-turner.  I’m glad Manasseh came around at the end … after he was led with a ring through his nose.  It does seem like God’s warnings are going to happen soon, but they don’t.

A. All in due time.  The first few chapters of Jeremiah told you what order things would go down in.

Q. (Jeremiah 1: 11-14): Why is God using an almond tree branch and a pot of boiling water for Jeremiah’s visions?

A. As we discussed way, way back in February (Day 44), the Hebrew word for “almond” sounds exactly like the word for “watch,” so God is using a bit of word play here to cast a vision.  The pot — caldron would be a good translation, noting the size difference: caldrons are huge — image and the word for “pour out,” which means the same as “boil” in Hebrew paint a vision of a huge force that will be “poured out” upon the people.  The boiling pot is therefore symbol of God’s wrath.

Q. (Jeremiah 2:13): What is a cistern?

A. A cistern is a Middle Eastern water collecting/storing device, usually used for catching  and retaining rainwater.  It is distinguished from a well by most often being man-made (i.e. wells are dug, but the water itself is natural) and having an artificial, watertight barrier, most often some form of plaster.  These cisterns were vitally important to survival of life in a desert, where it might only rain a few times a year in certain areas.  So if your cistern leaked (as God alludes to), you were in big trouble, because your water was lost to the earth.  So God is here drawing the powerful contrast between Himself as a life-giving spring and the idols He has been abandoned for as leaky cisterns, which promise to provide, but end up leaving the people with nothing.  It’s a powerful contrast, and not the last time a cistern will be an important part of this story.

Day 209 (July 28): A prayer for mercy and pardon, judgment and final salvation, Hezekiah dies

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Isaiah 63:15-66:24

2 Kings 20:20-21

2 Chronicles 32:32-33

Questions & Observations

Q. (Isaiah 63): It’s kind of confusing that sometimes Isaiah talks for himself, sometimes for God and I guess, here for the Israelites?

A. He is dialoguing, if you will, with God.  Isaiah begins in chapter 63, and then God responds in 64 and beyond.

Q. (63:17): Can that happen?  Can God “allow” people to turn from Him?  That seems just to be shifting blame to God.  Is it saying that God created them, so why did He make them where they could turn away from Him?

A. I guess that depends on your personal theology and perspective.  I personally am of the camp that says that God does not override free will, so we choose to turn away from Him, rather then His “allowing” or ordaining that we walk away (which would be much more of a Calvinistic argument, and I don’t want to go into that here).  Note well God’s reply in the next chapter, He basically says, “I was just waiting for you to call on me, but you never did.  You chose the path of sin, and now must deal with the consequences, but it is your own doing, not Mine.”  I think the way God replies sheds much light on His perspective on the matter.

O. (64:1-3): What an awesome picture this is painting.  Humans seem to have good short-term memories though.  And, when we don’t have frequent affirmation of God’s existence, our doubt rises.  But, like here, they are remembering God’s greatness.  We just have to keep that at the forefront of our memory.

O. (64:4-12): This reminds me of a child who keeps returns to home asking for money and forgiveness.

Q. (65:12): Who is the executioner?

A. Babylon, and King Nebuchadnezzar in particular.

Q. (65:20-25): God is describing heaven here?

A. He is describing His own restored Kingdom, as we have seen over the last few chapters.

Q. (66:2b-3a): This basically sums up who will be rewarded with salvation and who won’t, right?

A. I would say it makes for a good foundation, but a contrite heart alone is not enough: our hearts must allow us to see the salvation that God so generously offers, and accept the offer via the blood of His son Jesus.  But frankly, as verse 3 indicates, many choose to go their own way, content in the “knowledge” that they are all right on their own, and don’t need God.  Such thinking is very dangerous according to God.

Q. This reading went back and forth between talking about the resurrection of Jerusalem and judgment day, right?  It’s a little difficult to follow.

A. Actually, it also covered the destruction of Jerusalem as well, but yes.  God explains His position in response to Isaiah’s requests in the first chapter, and God says there is a price to be paid, but for those who survive (the remnant), they will inherit God’s eternal Kingdom.

Day 203 (July 22): Hezekiah’s sickness and God’s healing him, God is displeased with Hezekiah’s pride

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 20:1-11

Isaiah 38:1-8

2 Chronicles 32:24-31

Isaiah 38:9-22

2 Kings 20:12-19

Isaiah 39:1-8

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Chronicles 32:25): Wealth is such a double-edged sword.  Here Hezekiah prayed that this illness would not kill Him.  God appreciated his humbleness and rewarded him greatly.  But, as his wealth was building, it seems that his pride was growing.  Wealth and power can really belittle me, and likewise, empower the wealthy.  If I’m around power or wealth, I feel inferior and on the flip side, I think the wealthy and powerful feed off of that superiority feeling. Here, Hezekiah clearly got his wealth and power from God, yet he still flaunted it.

A. Wealth and power have a near irresistible ability to corrupt us.  We must truly tread carefully around them.  It becomes so easy to forget the source of all good things when we have so much ability to control our lives and the lives of others around us via money or power.  It is a repeated warning in the Bible that we must avoid the corrupting power of riches.

Q. (32:31): I would say that most people would keep God in their hearts once He’s there.  So, why does God continuously test us?  I understand that some people do stray.  But, doesn’t God know the ones who are truly humble and faithful to Him?

A. Of course He does, but we don’t.  In 1 Peter 1:3-7, Peter describes the riches that are stored up for us in Heaven as a result of our faith in Christ.  But, he says, for the moment, you must go through various trials.  The reason?  That your faith may be proven genuine — to the community and to ourselves.  But the verses also point to another objective: the trials are a refining process that purifies us, and in the end, God is glorified by the transformation that takes place as a result of our overcoming the trials and staying faithful.  In the end, trials such as these are about learning the genuineness of our own faith, and providing glory to the One who has redeemed us.

Q. (Isaiah 38:16-17): A couple verses that tell us that discipline is used as a measure to keep us on God’s path.  Interesting.  So many folks who have had bad things happen to them come out saying that if it wouldn’t have happened, then this other good news wouldn’t have happened.

A. The great message of faith in Jesus Christ is that God is capable of bringing good out of evil — the central message of the crucifixion.  Without the crucifixion, along with the mockery, the lashings, the humiliation; without all the great suffering, there is no resurrection on Sunday.  Without Jesus’ death, there is nothing to celebrate when He rises.  So we are called to look upon Christ’s passion and resurrection and trust that if God can do it at the most crucial moment in history, He can do it for us as well.  God is capable of bringing light out of the greatest darkness of our lives — whether it is our own doing or the work of someone else.  But it is only to the one who does not give up, who perseveres through the trials, that is given the privilege of seeing the ways that God chooses to do so.

Q. (2 Kings 20:13): Why on earth would a king show a neighboring — and often enemy nation — all of his treasures?  That is a death sentence foremost and not to mention just gloating.  I guess Hezekiah is showing his pride again?  He needs to have a better memory!  I would have thought he would have learned his lesson after being healed, prospering and then being prideful of his status.

A. Babylon is a rival with Assyria (thought not as powerful as Egypt … yet), and the two nations have been at war for some times.  It is very likely that Hezekiah is “showing off” to gain an ally against Assyria.  But this will backfire on him, in the same manner that reaching out to Egypt did.  But, I certainly agree with your assessment about his need for a better memory!

Day 202 (July 21): Hezekiah seeks God’s help with Assyrians, King Sennecherib taunts Hezekiah, Isaiah predicts Judah’s deliverance

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 19:1-19

Isaiah 37:1-20

2 Chronicles 32:9-19

2 Kings 19:20-37

Isaiah 37:21-38

2 Chronicles 32:20-23

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 10-13): This taunting of the Assyrian king reminds me of the devil taunting and tempting Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness.

A. I can see why you might have that type of reading, but I think the events are very different.  Taunting is not the same as tempting, and the devil was tempting Jesus, not taunting Him.  The speaker in this story is mocking the people in order to make them fear the army that is coming.  The devil had particular reasons for tempting Jesus that I really want to save until we read that story, so I look forward to reading that passage (Matthew 4) at some point in the future.

Q. (2 Kings 19:1-19, Isaiah 37:1-20): I take several messages from this text.  Hezekiah is scared, at least he seems that way to me.  But, he takes his fear to God who calms him and lets him know that He can take it from here.  And, He does.  Sometimes I feel bad because even though I am a believer, I still get scared, worried and stressed.  I think that these are feelings that we shouldn’t have as Christians.  But, is God saying in this scripture that it’s OK to be scared as long as you still believe?

A. Fear is never of God, but it is often something that even the most seasoned Christian must deal with.  God desires for us to bring our fears to Him, that He might help us turn our fears into faith.

O. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, is badly belittling God.  He must not have any idea of God’s power.  And, arrogance gets you nowhere with God!

O. (2 Kings 19:28): Wow, what a visual!

Q. (19:35-36): That’s one way to send fear to an enemy!  Also, I didn’t realize that Ninevah was the capital of Assyria.  I guess Jonah had his work cut out for him!

A. Perhaps you can see why Jonah was not eager to fulfill his mission?  Ninevah was a great enemy, though Jonah’s story takes place many years before this one.

Q. (19:37): Why would Sennacherib’s sons kill him?

A. The Biblical story doesn’t tell us, but my notes indicate that Assyrian history from this period records that it was related to the king’s choice of a successor from among his many sons.  Apparently some of his sons didn’t care for his decision, to put it mildly.

Day 176 (June 25): Songs for salvation, warning to Damascus and Israel, Ahaz closes temple, Ahaz rejects God, Hezekiah rules in Judah, Hoshea rules in Judah, Hosea’s kids’ names reveal future, charges against unfaithful Israel

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Isaiah 12:1-6

Isaiah 17

2 Chronicles 28:16-21

2 Kings 16:10-18

2 Chronicles 28:22-25

2 Kings 18:1-8

2 Chronicles 29:1-2

2 Kings 15:30-31 / 732 BC

2 Kings 17:1-4

Hosea 1-2:13

Questions & Observations

O. (Isaiah 12:2): With Jesus’s death, we have victory.  God has won the battle.  That’s why people proclaim “Jesus has risen” on Easter.  Through His resurrection, He proved that He was the Messiah.  Heaven is won for us. We just have to proclaim it to enter.

O. (12:4): Thank you God and Jesus for the sacrifice and giving me a ticket to heaven.  Just thinking that it had to come to Jesus dying on the cross makes me feel unworthy and sad that we forced His death.  Our sins were so bad that Jesus, sinless, had to take our punishment for our redemption.  It was God’s only option for getting His children to heaven.  That’s how much God and Jesus love us!

Q. (12:6): Would the people whom Isaiah is speaking to have any idea what Isaiah is talking about?

A. I would think so.  Isaiah is reminding the people that they should be depending upon God, and that He is the faithful one they have too quickly forgotten.

Q. (17:4-6): I am getting tired of this repetitive gloom.  But, God often calls on our patience (he has been patience with us … and Israel).  And, if you take the time to read it, God paints a specific picture of what it will look like after the invasion, pointing out things that are important like a few olives left on a tree, which is vital when food is scarce.

A. If you’re tired of the gloom, you’re not going to like the next part of the story.  It’s going to be gloomy for a while.

O. I am surprised that Hezekiah followed God after ruling alongside his father, Ahaz, who built altars to worship false gods.  Of course, it can be just part of the plan.

Q. (Hosea 1:1): In 2 Kings 17:4, the Bible says that Hoshea was imprisoned by the king of Assyria.  Are Hoshea and Hosea not the same person?

A. Hoshea and Hosea are different people.  Hoshea is the last king of Israel before it is destroyed and resettled, and Hosea is a prophet in Israel during its final days.

Q. Can you explain Hosea 1:10-2:1?

A. God is talking about the renewal of His people after their various periods in exile.  Under the leadership of men like Ezra and Nehemiah, among others, God will restore Israel/Judah, but not for a while.  There’s a long way to go before that!