Day 173 (June 22): Amos tells of his visions, Amos tells Jeroboam of upcoming destruction, Amos details Israel’s future, God tells of Israel’s repair, Jeroboam II, Zechariah and Shallum have short reigns in Israel, Menahem ruled for 10 years, Pekah killed Pekahiah, King Uziah of Judah died, Isaiah has vision of his redemption and destruction of 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.

Amos 7-9

2 Kings 14:28-29

2 Kings 15:8-29

2 Kings 15:6-7

2 Chronicles 26:22-23

Isaiah 6:1-13

Questions & Observations

O. (Amos 7:1-3): Just a dream, but we do see God rewarding Israel since Amos was calling out to Him to spare the nation from locusts.

Q. (Amos 7:10): We are talking about Jeroboam II here, right?  If it’s the first Jeroboam, then we are not in chronological order.

A. Yes.

Q. (Amos 7:17): Is Amos speaking of this judgment day again for Israel?

A. All of the prophets from this section of Israel’s history will be talking about this upcoming day of judgment for Israel.

Q. (8:10): Amos is still speaking to Jeroboam II?

A. He is speaking the nation of Israel, though the king is usually thought of as the nation’s representative.

Q. (9:1): He is speaking here of the Temple of the Lord?  He must see it as a place of blasphemy since it is supposed to be used as a place where the Israelites praise their sovereign Lord.  It has been plundered for other gods.  What a slap in the face to God.

A. If we examine the record of what God has done for these people, it does indeed appear that way.  Wait until we get to Hosea.  He has some very colorful language for this insult.

Q. (9:7): What is the meaning of this line of questioning?  I did think the Israelites were the most important people to God.  Is he putting the Israelites in their place because they have not obeyed God’s laws, saying that they may as well be any other nation?

A.  Israel was chosen by God for the purpose of being a light to the nations, at which they have failed miserably.  Just because they were His chosen does not mean He cares for these nations (some of which have ties to Israel such as Edom) any less.

Q. (9:11-15): This prophecy sounds similar to the Flood.  I don’t know why in v. 15 God says that the Israelites will never be uprooted again because we have seen time and time again where no matter if a group starts out with good apples, some will turn bad or new ones will show up who are bad.  Is this because God is similar to a parent in this regard: After the punishment is over, we want to restore harmony and enjoy the rewards of getting rid of bad behavior?

A. I’m not trying to dodge this question, but I’d like to let the story unfold so you and our dear readers can see more clearly what God is up to and the ways that He goes about restoring Israel.

Q. (2 Kings 15:16): This is at least the second time where it is mentioned that pregnant women were cut open.  This is so detestable.  Why this practice?

A. It demonstrates brutality against the vulnerable and in doing so causes intimidation.  There is also the added “bonus” of killing the next generation of ones’ enemies.

Q. (Isaiah 6:1-13): Is Isaiah having a vision here?  Isaiah is a prophet?  What is going on in this passage?

A. This is probably the most well known passage for Isaiah’s book, one of the largest of the OT.  He is indeed having a vision, in which he is called into God’s service as a prophet, so this vision is basically the commissioning ceremony of a royal messenger.  Isaiah is being selected to proclaim a message that will be ignored by his people — hearing but not understanding — but that he will also cast a vision for the way that God will restore his people.  The last section of Isaiah (chapters 40-66) contains some of the most beautiful words ever composed in their descriptions of God and His ability to restore and make all things new.

Day 171 (June 20): Amaziah rules in Judah, end of Jehoash’s reign in Israel, Jeroboam II takes over Israel, Amaziah ends reign in Judah, Uzziah sits on Judah’s throne, Uzziah’s pride leads to downfall, Jonah runs from God, Jonah prayed for salvation, Jonah treks to Ninevah, Jonah angered at God’s mercy

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 14:1-14

2 Chronicles 25:1-24

2 Kings 13:12-13

2 Kings 14:15-16

2 Kings 14:23-27

2 Chronicles 25:25-28

2 Kings 14:17-22

2 Kings 15:1-5

2 Chronicles 26:1-21

Jonah 1-4

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 14:1-4): Why did the Judeans (is that what we call them now) kill one king just to put his son on the throne?

A. I don’t know exactly, perhaps they thought the son would be better than his father.

Q. (14:5-6): But, this law does not apply to the kings because we have read many times where God’s punishment for a king’s sins will follow his descendants for many generations.

A. You’ve already noted the distinction.  To have mercy or not on the next generation is God’s decision, and He may do as He pleases, but that doesn’t mean that we as people should seek to make the same judgment.

Q. (14:11-14): I am interested to know what the purpose behind this battle was and how it shapes the future of Israel.  Neither king was fully loyal to the Lord.  Joash of Israel plundered Jerusalem and raided the Temple.

A. The version from Chronicles makes the meaning a bit more clear: Joash’s victory is the result of Amaziah’s ambition and bragging as king.  God uses the Israelites to put Amaziah in his place.

Q. (14:15): I was going to ask the same question, “Why would a king adopt the gods of a kingdom that he just defeated?”

A. Not very smart, is it?

Q. (2 Kings 13:12-13, 14:15-16): This is the same information two places in 2 Kings. Is this a typo or different authors or what?  I know, it’s no big deal.  It just stands out.

A. It does stand out, but I don’t have any particular understanding as to why it is in there twice.

Q. (14:23): I guess although Jeroboam did not follow the Lord, he must have been a renowned king in the people’s eyes because so many kings followed his direction and here this king, Jeroboam II, is named after him?

A. Yes.  He brought freedom (as the people saw it) to Israel, and allowed them to break the yoke of the “cruel” rule of David and his descendents.

Q. (14:24, 27): Verse 24 says that Jeroboam was evil.  Then, v. 27 says that God will use him to save Israel.  Just wait, right?

A. Yep.

O. (15:3): This sounds like a broken record that the kings did good in the eyes of the Lord but did not destroy all of the false gods/idols.  I wanna say, someone just do it.  But, when you see the size of the armies (2 Chronicles 26:3) that they can muster, it must be a huge community.  And, to govern such a huge place would be very difficult.  Some of these shrines may have been hidden.  Still, it sounds like God expected them to be destroyed, no matter what.  If God is trying to establish a nation that follows Him and is like no other, then He would not want any other gods in his territory.  He has and would give them anything, if they would just follow Him.  Which, like us, is the best thing to do and will make us the happiest.  But, all of the distractions and temptations really make us question the security we have built up for ourselves.  So, those temptations make it hard to completely convert to God.  But, it’s what we are called to do and it is the right choice — really, the only choice, the way I see it.

O. (2 Chronicles 26:18-20): Don’t mess with God!

Q. (Jonah 1:17): Like many of the stories in the Bible, this one seems a little far-fetched.  But, we know it’s true.  We know from reading God’s word, that what He says is true.  So, for Jonah, what a ride!  Any idea where Jonah came from?  He just pops out of nowhere.

A. Well, as we’ve mentioned, the Bible doesn’t feel the need to fill in all of the details that we would want.  This story stands alone as one of 12 Minor Prophets (so named for the length of their story, not because they weren’t important).  But, we do get some information on Jonah, including where he came from, you just have to be able to decipher it from the text.  Our reading from 2 Kings 14:25 notes that Jonah was from Gath-Hepher, which was in Zebulun, part of the Northern Kingdom.  This means that Jonah was most likely a member of that tribe.

Q. (Jonah 3:5): Why burlap?  I think of itchy feed sacks.

A. Just like when the Israelites do it, when the citizens of Nineveh put on burlap, they are making a public display of their mourning and repentence.

Q. (Jonah 3:10-4-11): So, tell me if I have this right.  The people of Ninevah changed their ways and God was feeling sympathetic to them.  Thus, Jonah was concerned that God would change his mind and not bring destruction to Ninevah.  And, Jonah was worried about looking like a fool after proclaiming such destruction and then it doesn’t happen?  Will we learn the outcome of this?

A. Well, you’re partly right.  Jonah considered the citizens of Ninevah to be his enemies, and he did not want to proclaim a call to repentance, but not because he thought that he would look bad; it was because he was afraid that God might actually grant it!  Jonah had no interest in sharing God’s mercy with this other nation.  He wanted them destroyed!

One of the themes that the writer of Jonah (possibly Jonah himself, we can’t be sure) brings to our attention is the fact that the non-Jews in this story (the sailors, the Ninevites) act in a much more respectable way than the only Jew — Jonah!  Jonah acts in a petty and childish way, while the other characters are much more responsive to the Word of God than Jonah is.  This is a powerful conviction by the writer: the Jews are failing to be the light to the Gentiles that God has always expected them to be.  Part of their problem, as 2 Kings has told us over and over and over, is that they worship other gods while ignoring the one who gave them their Promised Land.  The Jews are counting on God’s mercy for them, but, as Jonah is doing here, they fail to see that God’s mercy extends to all people, not just to the ones He chose.  His mercy actually angers them!  Think about the great irony of that statement in light of everything we have been reading about Israel and Judah’s unfaithfulness.  Jonah is, in my opinion, one of the greatest writings of the OT for its biting commentary on the way that the Jews were abusing the very love and mercy of God that they were constantly dependent upon.