Today’s reading: 2 Chron 35:1–36:23, 1 John 2:28–3:4, Ps 105:23–45
Today’s theme: God’s Love and Promises
It is significant that today in the UK, we celebrate 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta, and we read about King Josiah restoring God’s government and order in Israel. We learn important lessons about God’s love and promises, serving each other, looking back to the old examples and listening. Thank God today for His great love and the promises He has given us in His word, which like the Magna Carta, forms the cornerstone of our citizenship in God’s kingdom.
2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23
Serve Each Other
The singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place according to the command of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the gatekeepers were at each gate. They did not need to depart from their service, for their brothers the Levites prepared for them. 2 Chronicles 35:15 (ESV)
This is a great example of the way ministry works and how it helps all those involved with it.
Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 12:25 “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”
Paul also tells us in Ephesians 4:16 “from (Jesus the head) whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Ask God how you can serve the body of Christ today. Also see 1 Corinthians 12:25, Romans 12:4–8
No Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah, and the priests and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 35:18 (ESV)
The last leader to follow the Passover correctly was Samuel. King Josiah returns to God’s word and is the first king to hold a full Passover in accordance with what God had prescribed to Moses.
We learn from this that we should get our practise as Christians from God’s word, but we should not neglect looking back at those who have gone on before us and looking at their example.
As the saying goes “if it is not broken, don’t fix it”. We must humble ourselves and learn from the 2000 years of church history we already have, as its leaders align with God’s word. See Hebrews 12:1–2
Josiah was only aged 26 when he held this biblical Passover.
Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight in the plain of Megiddo. 2 Chronicles 35:22 (ESV)
Like other good kings , Josiah’s downfall came through pride and stubbornness.
God in His sovereignty was using Neco to pass judgement on the people of Carchemish, Josiah was not to get involved.
We need to be careful not to react to a situation and reach out in our own understanding when God is at work. The key to avoiding this is to seek God’s will in prayer and to be led by His Holy Spirit.
Paul has an example of this in his own life, in Acts 16:6–7 “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”
Pride and Rebellion
He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God. He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD, the God of Israel. 2 Chronicles 36:12–13 (ESV)
King Zedekiah was evil, he had no humility to listen to God’s prophet nor loyalty to honour the king.
We need to avoid both the attitudes of pride and rebellion, we should humbly submit to God’s word, our ministers and even the authorities. See 1 Peter 2:12
No Other Remedy
The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, until there was no remedy. 2 Chronicles 36:15–16 (ESV)
This demonstrates the great love that God has for His people. However, against common conceptions, this mercy and love has a limit. Although it is immense, there came a time where there was no remedy.
When Jesus spoke about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, He was teaching that those who resist and turn away from the Spirit’s drawing, cannot be forgiven. Matthew 12:31–32
Those who reject the Gospel cannot instead receive the gospel, version 2! Hebrews 6:4–6
If we reject God’s word, God’s plan of salvation and God’s Spirit, there is no other remedy.
The King’s Declaration
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 2 Chronicles 36:22 (ESV)
The book ends by showing us that God, the true King, is in complete control. This is a great testament to God’s sovereignty. God was able to stir up and use this pagan king for His own purposes.
The very declaration of king Cyrus is a reflection of God’s declared will, from His throne as the King of the universe, which He ensures always comes to pass.
God remains victorious, all the earthly kings have faded away. Now Israel’s true King will restore them to the land, in preparation for the 1st coming of the King fulfilled by Jesus, the son of David.
1 John 2:28–3:4
God’s Great Love
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 (ESV)
We thank God for His love in the context that He has made us His children.
God’s love is great because it is by God’s own act of love that we belong to God, in as secure and permanent a way, that a child belongs to their own loving parents.
God’s love is also great because of the quality of the love that He shows. God’s love is not like that of man and He does not have the shortcomings of earthly fathers.
Those who are fathers should reflect on God’s incredible love, demonstrated to us by making us His children and we should pour that love on our own children. Those who are not fathers can reflect on God the Father, who has adopted them and made them become His child.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:3 (ESV)
God calls us His children now, we do not know what we will be when Jesus returns, but it will be even greater somehow (probably largely due to the fact that we will have eternal resurrection bodies).
The joyful hope of what we will become when Jesus returns, should help us to stay pure.
Morally pure living is the response of those who hope to become like Jesus at His return.
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant. So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing. Psalm 105:42–43 (ESV)
Thank God today that He keeps His promises. We can sing and rejoice that God is faithful, our God who makes and keeps promises.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on 1 John 3