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 168 (June 17): Judgment for Judah during Jehoram’s reign, Ahaziah takes over Judah, Jehu anointed king of Israel, Jehu kills Joram and Ahaziah, Jezebel dies!, Jehu kills Ahab’s family, Jehu kills priests of Baal

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 Chronicles 21:8-20

2 Kings 8:23-10:17

2 Chronicles 22:1-7

2 Kings 10:18-31

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Chronicles 21:8): The Edomites were not a part of Israel or Judah, right?  Were they a vassal state also, like Moab?  They wanted freedom from paying tributes to Judah?

A. Yes.  Israel/Judah became powerful during David and Solomon’s reigns, and took on several vassal states.  But as the power decreased down the line, these servant peoples began to revolt against their ruling nation.

Q. (21:16): It seems ironic that God is waging a war against His Own people.  But, if we want to think deeper, He is actually trying to rid them of evil and reestablish himself.  He needs to show them who is king and who will provide for them.  Are the wicked kings too proud to admit someone is more powerful than them?  They shouldn’t, they are worshipping other idols.  I don’t understand if they are going to worship something, which they do, why deny God?  They know of His power, yet they belittle it.

A. In Israel, this whole mess began, as the end of the reading told us, with Jeroboam building the golden calves in order to prevent the people from worshipping God Himself.  Every king since then has followed suit, either by doing evil, or like Jehu, not correcting the original error of having set up idols.  Essentially, this is really an issue of control and power.  These kings are capable of controlling these other “gods” and using their “power” for their own purposes, but God will not be so easily manipulated.  The unwillingness to submit to the true God’s demands is at the heart of the corruption you have been seeing.

Q. (2 Kings 9:3): Why should this prophet have to run after anointing Jehu as king of Israel?  This scene is humorous.

A. He was telling the commander of a king’s army to commit treason against that king, and could not know for sure how he would react.  If the commander refused the order, he likely would have killed the prophet.

O. (9:13): We don’t see any deliberation here from Jehu about being anointed.  He took the task by the horns and ran with it.

Q. (9:19): Jehu is saying, “Follow me and you’ll see peace?”

A. He is stalling for time and not lying about his intent by saying he comes in peace when he really does not.

O. (9:30-37): The witch is dead!  And the people said, “AMEN!”

Q. (2 Chronicles 22:9): Jehu was Ahaziah’s uncle?

A. Nope.  Jehu was unrelated to Ahaziah.

O. (2 Kings 10:27): A toilet?  Now that’s some humor!

Q. (10:31): What, after all of that work for God he is going to follow Jeroboam?  I thought Jehu was going to be a really good king.

A. Relative to the other kings of Israel at the time, he was.  That’s why his family got to rule for the next three generations.

Day 160 (June 9): Prophet gives Jeroboam a message from God, prophet reveals Jeroboam’s son’s fate, summary of Rehoboam’s reign, Egypt invades Judah, Israel and Judah battle, Asa was loyal to God, Nadab set on Israel’s throne after Jeroboam, Baasha rules in Israel, Asa rallies Judah for God

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.

1 Kings 13-14:24

2 Chronicles 12:13-14

2 Chronicles 11:18-12:12

1 Kings 14:25-28

2 Chronicles 12:15-16

1 Kings 14:29-31

1 Kings 15:1-5

2 Chronicles 13:1-22

 

1 Kings 15:6-8

2 Chronicles 14:1-8

1 Kings 15:9-15

1 Kings 14:19-20

1 Kings 15:25-26

1 Kings 15:27-34

2 Chronicles 14:9-15

2 Chronicles 15:1-19

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 13:18-19): Why would one prophet deceive another?

A. We don’t know exactly what prompted this deceit.  It is possible that the old prophet was maliciously trying to get the young prophet in trouble, or that he simply wanted to spend time with this man, so he lied to bring it about.  Either way, the deception did no excuse the man of God’s explicit order to not take food or drink, and he paid dearly for his poor decision.

Q. (13:22): Is not being buried with your ancestors an insult?

A. Yes.  It meant that you were not buried at home or not buried by your loved ones.

Q. (13:27-28): What is the significance of the lion and the donkey?

A. The lion and the donkey were a confirmation of the truth of God’s prophecies: the first about the royal family being killed off (fulfilled in 15:29), but also a confirmation that He had spoken judgment through the old prophet to the younger man of God.  The idea is that such a miracle should have convinced Jeroboam that he needed to repent and beg for God’s mercy, but he did not.

Q. (14:22-23): Here it says that there was wickedness under Rehoboam, but priests left Jeroboam so they could worship God.

A. That movement does not preclude wickedness in Judah.  What Jeroboam was doing was going a step further, and preventing the Levites and priests from doing their job intentionally.  Even with the priesthood working, the people were capable of wickedness Think of the Israelites in the wilderness during Exodus: They also had priests, but were still plenty sinful.

Q. (14:24): Was their adoption of the pagan nations’ practices because all of the nations were not destroyed when Joshua went to war to take over Canaan?

A. That’s one explanation.  The other is that there were still various Canaanite tribes living in the surrounding areas, and the king may have invited them to come and practice their from of pagan worship in Israel and Judah.

Q. (2 Chronicles 11:22): Just reading this automatically made me think of what kind of environment is stirred up when a king is on his way out and whom to groom to be king has to be decided.  The fact that one son is picked to be king among a lot of brothers fosters jealousy, discord and battles.  I remember way back when the Israelites wanted an earthly king because all of the other nations had one.  They didn’t need a king.  They already had a leader — God.  So, could sibling rivalry for the throne be one reason God warned against having a king?

A. There were lots of reasons, but surely that is one of them.  Sibling rivalry has basically haunted each generation from David’s family on down.

Q. (12:2): So, how does the Israelites’ unfaithfulness to God cause King Shishak of Egypt to attack Israel?

A. One of the things that God chooses to do to get Israel or Judah to repent is to raise up a foreign power that is mightier then His people.  Cornered, and without another way out, the people, including the king, are forced to see that they have sinned and repent.  We see this in Asa’s story as well (or rather, the opposite): for those who are faithful to the Lord, they are often given times of peace and prosperity, as David and Solomon both enjoyed at times in their lives.  Bottom line: an invading army is used by God to get the people to, once again, see their need for Him.

Q. (1 Kings 15:3-5): God’s love of David has pardoned a lot if his ancestors.

A. It surely did.

Q. (2 Chronicles 13:10-12): 1 Kings says Abijah committed the same sins as Rehoboam.  Now he says his people serve God.  Is he delusional?

A. I would say no.  This is a turning point for Abijah, who though having failed to this point, leads his people by example in turning to God, and reminding the lapsed people of Israel what it is they are doing by giving up God.  He is greatly rewarded for his turning.

Q. (2 Chronicles 14:1-8): I wonder after a line of ancestors who didn’t follow God how Asa came to follow Him?

A. It’s a good question, and I don’t have a great answer.  One of the most awesome things about God is that through His grace, our past does not have to be our future.  We are not bound to the same mistakes that our family members have made.  We can keep our marriage together even if previous generations have divorced.  We can stop the cycle of abuse from being passed down.  We can raise ourselves up to new heights via God’s might and mercy.

Though several generations of Asa’s ancestors had failed miserably, Asa kept his focus on pleasing God, and was rewarded for his faithfulness … at least for the moment.  Keep reading for a bit more on Asa.

Q. (1 Kings 15:25-26): Israel has been split for a while.  Are both sides still considered God’s chosen people?

A. Israel is pretty much a lost cause, as we will see.  The people are all still God’s, but the people of Israel are digging themselves a deep hole they won’t be able to get out of.

Day 159 (June 8): Solomon’s advice for young and old, Northern tribes revolt against Rehoboam, Shemiah warns Rehoboam to stand down against relatives, Jeroboam makes idols, Preists strengthen Judah

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.

Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14

1 Kings 12:1-20

2 Chronicles 10:1-19

1 Kings 12:21-24

2 Chronicles 11:1-4

1 Kings 12:25-33

2 Chronicles 11:5-17

Questions & Observations

Q. (Ecclesiastes 11:9): If only all young people would read this and adopt it!  But, he is again saying life without God is meaningless, right?

A. You got it.

Q. (12:8): Why does he call himself the Teacher?

A. The word chosen here can, in addition to teacher, mean leader or head of an assembly.  He referred to himself using that term back in chapter 1.  So it appears to mean something like professor or lecturer as we would use the terms today.

Q. (12:12-13): Is Solomon saying that you don’t need to know everything there is to know, just know God’s laws and abide by them?  This is a nice conclusion!

A. The last section was written by some unknown person, possibly an editor of the major parts of the text.  But you’ve read the conclusion correctly.

Q. (1 Kings 12:15): What would you say to those people who say this is predestination here?

A. I would say that there are clear elements of both free will (Rehoboam’s poor decision making) and predestination at work in this verse and story.  You can almost always point to elements of both of these views in events such as these: God directs the path, but people still have to make their own choices.  It’s never as cut and dry as, frankly, either side desires it to be.

Q. (1 Kings 12:21): Why did Benjamin join Judah?

A. It appears that Rehoboam’s influence as king went as far north as Bethel, which was the northern boundary of Benjamin’s territory.  Based upon our previous readings (11:31-32), the implication is that many of the tribe of Benjamin were loyal to the Northern Kingdom and the rebel king Jeroboam, but the territorial influence of the Davidic king (Rehoboam) meant that the territory and army of Benjamin stayed loyal to that king.

Q. (2 Chronicles 11:16-17): I think we talked about how people were more nomadic back then.  Here, the Levites who were under Jeroboam moved to Jerusalem so they could worship God under Rehoboam.  Today, if we have a bad leader, we just put up with it until the next election.  Most people wouldn’t take a big step and move.  But, I’m sure we have more to move now than they did back then.

A. Jeroboam was preventing them from fulfilling their God-given task as His priesthood, while anointing other (non-Levite) priests to preform his pagan rituals to these other gods.  It would have been a great affront to these priests, so it is not a surprise to me that they were eager to “get out of Dodge.”

Day 156 (June 5): 1,000 women for Solomon, God raises three adversaries for Solomon, Solomon despondent to life

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.

1 Kings 11

2 Chronicles 9:29-31

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 11:1-3, Ecclesiastes 1:11): What happened to Solomon?  He wrote so many words of wisdom.  All of these women influenced them with their gods and he became despondent?

A. If you are suggesting that Solomon’s turn to foreign gods made him despondent and write about how life is meaningless, I do not agree with that.  I honestly don’t particularly like them putting a volume like Ecclesiastes at this point, as though Solomon got depressed in his last days and wrote a depressing book.  We have no reason or evidence that this is the case.  While you certainly can argue that Ecclesiastes is a “depressing” book, I would say it’s worth reading in full as a philosophical examination of the eternal question, “what is life without God?”

Q. (1 Kings 11:11,39): God had said that if Solomon and his descendants followed the laws of God, his (or David’s) line would be placed on the throne, but if they didn’t, Israel would be uprooted from the land (1 Kings 9:6).  He is lightening Solomon’s punishment?  But, it looks like God is arranging for some major trouble for Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-26) — Hadad, Rezon and Jeroboam.  In verse 11:39, God says he will punish Solomon’s descendants, though not forever.

A. The punishment was for the entire line of kings, not merely Solomon.  Solomon’s poor decisions are but a taste of how bad it’s going to get.

Q. (1 Kings 11:41, 2 Chronicles 9:29): Any idea what these — The Book of the Acts of Solomon, The Record of Nathan the Prophet, The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh and The Visions of Iddo The Seer — are or if they still exist?

A. They may, but no one has ever found them.  This doesn’t mean, however, that they do not exist.  New discoveries are made in archeology all the time, and some of the most fascinating discoveries of the modern era — the Dead Sea Scrolls (found outside of Israel) and the Nag Hammadi Library (found in Egypt) give us incredible glimpses into the writings of the ancient world.  The N/H works provide a glimpse into the world of a philosophy of Gnosticism, which was (and is) a rival of Christian thought.  This volume allowed archeologists to find volumes that are referred to in ancient Christian documents thousands of years old — i.e. from the first centuries AD — but no one had ever found them before.  There is always hope that in places like Egypt or similar locations, scrolls and other writings can last for literally thousands of years.  So even if these volumes have not been found yet, doesn’t mean that they cannot be.