TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 29:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said, 'Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.'” 2 Chronicles 29:4,5
What are you most likely to do when your room gets messy?- clean it up- nothingWhen Hezekiah, Uzziah’s great-grandson became Judah’s king, one of the first things he did was a clean-up job, even though the mess wasn’t in his room and it was a mess he hadn’t made. In the first month of his reign King Hezekiah called together the priests and Levites and told them to clean up the temple.
The reasons for cleaning it up were more than that Hezekiah was a neat-freak. After thirty two years of being ruled by evil kings (his father Ahaz and his grandfather Jotham), Hezekiah knew there was a connection between worshiping God and having His blessing. He wanted God’s blessing more than anything. And so he told the priests and Levites to take everything that didn’t belong in the temple out so that they could again worship God...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 1:1-4 and 10-14
TO CHEW ON: The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Joel 1:10
Which people do we go to, to find out what might happen in the future
weathermen scientists prophets
I’m sure you’d agree that in our time we may go to weathermen and scientists, but we don’t often go to prophets. Even in Bible times people sometimes made fun of what prophets predicted. Yet God chose to speak through these ordinary men who didn’t speak their own ideas but said what God told them to say.
Joel was such a prophet. He lived in Judah around the time Joash was crowned king. He had seen the way King Jehoram and Ahaziah and then Queen Athaliah had turned the people away from praying to God.
When Joash became king, Joel hoped that things would be different. And they were for a while. As long as Priest Jehoiada was alive Joash followed his advice and honored God. But after Jehoiada died, Joash stopped worshiping at the temple. He put up Asherah poles and soon the land was filled with idols again.
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 33:7-13
TO CHEW ON: "And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God." 2 Chronicles 33:13
“The Assyrians are coming!” A messenger blurted the news to King Manasseh.
Manasseh called his priests and told them to pray to the gods, check the omens, and make sacrifices. But not to the God of heaven. For Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son and Judah’s king, was not like his dad. Instead of worshiping God, he rebuilt hilltop shrines where people went to pray to statues of Chemosh and Baal.Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
He sacrificed his own sons to idols, was deeply into witchcraft and even built idol altars in the temple. God had tried to talk to Manasseh and the people, but they refused to listen.
The sacrifices Manasseh made that day did no good. He was captured by the Assyrian generals, chained and taken to prison in Babylon. There, in a dungeon and all alone, he had time to think. He remembered the things his father...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 10:18-29
TO CHEW ON: “So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit – the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.” 2 Kings 10:28,29
Jehu lost no time getting to work on job the prophet had given him. When Ahab’s son King Joram was recovering from a war injury in Jezreel, Jehu rode there in his chariot and did away with Joram. Next he had Queen Jezebel killed. Finally, he destroyed the worship of the idol Baal.
He did this by tricking all the Baal prophets. He told the people to call them together for a big, big sacrifice. “Ahab served Baal a little,” Jehu said. “I will serve him much. Any Baal prophet who doesn’t show up will be killed.”
When all the prophets had gathered in Baal’s temple, Jehu posted guards outside. “Don’t let anyone escape,” he said. Then he made the sacrifice. And right after that he gave the signal to the guards to destroy every Baal prophet in the temple.
After that was done, Jehu tore down the Baal altar and the temple. In this...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 14:1-6
TO CHEW ON: “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Ezekiel 14:3
The Israelites in exile soon discovered that Ezekiel heard from God. They came to him often to find out if God had something to say to them. One day when some of Israel’s leaders had come to Ezekiel in this way, God gave him private information about them.
“These men have idols in their hearts,” God told Ezekiel. “Tell them, ‘Don’t think I am going to give you messages from Me knowing all the while you are worshiping something else. You need to get rid of these idols before I will tell you anything.’”
In the past the people of Israel had worshiped actual idol statues. Here God showed that idols don’t have to be physical things at all. They could be anything people admired, or trusted in, or relied on more than God. Even though these people may not have been going to actual shrines and praying to figurines, the idols were there just the same in the attitude of their hearts....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 32:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' ” Exodus 32:4
Moses was on Mount Sinai for a long time. When he didn’t come back, and didn’t come back, the Israelites camping at the bottom of the mountain wondered what was taking so long. Maybe God had destroyed Moses in the fire that rested on the top of the mountain. Maybe a wild animal had killed him. Who could help them if Moses never came back? They remembered Egypt. There the people had prayed to statues or idols.
The people went to Aaron. “Make us a god idol!” they demanded.
“Give me your jewelry,” he said. Then Aaron melted the gold he collected and cast it into the shape of a calf.
“This is our god,” the people shouted to each other. “This is the god who brought us out of Egypt.” They offered sacrifices to the idol and then they began to party.Israel celebrating around the calf idol - Artist unknown
Which statement, below, tells why this...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 32:7,8, 15-26
TO CHEW ON: "They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt'.... And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made." Exodus 32:8, 35
While the people were worshiping and celebrating around the idol, God told Moses, “It’s time for you to go down. The people are doing something bad.”
So Moses went down the mountain, carrying the tablets of stone on which God had written. But even God’s warning hadn’t prepared him for the sight that met his eyes when he got back to camp. There, in the middle of everything, was the gold calf idol. Around it the people were dancing, singing and celebrating.
Moses stormed into camp. He threw down the stone pieces he was carrying and they shattered."Moses Breaks the Tablets of Stone" from Treasures of the Bible (Moses)
Then he tore the calf idol off its stand and heaved it into a fire....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Hosea 14:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord you God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: 'Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously that we may offer the fruit of our lips.'” Hosea 14:1,2
Hosea was another prophet to Israel at this time. God asked him to do more than just talk to the people. Even his life was an object lesson of what God was like.
“Go marry a woman who won’t be true to you,” God told him.
So Hosea married Gomer, a prostitute. They lived together and had children. But Gomer left Hosea and had affairs with other men.
This made Hosea sad. God told him, “Your wife is just like the Israelites. She left you just like they left me to worship idols.The Israelites going to worship idols
I don’t want you to divorce her. Instead, you are to take her back.”
Hosea paid money and took his wife back into their home. Then God said to him, “Tell the Israelites that what you did is a picture of what I will do for them. Just like you took your wife back even though she...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 7:2-13
TO CHEW ON: "Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the Lord helped us.'” 1 Samuel 7:12
God’s predictions for Eli’s family soon came true. The next time the Israelites were losing against the Philistines, someone suggested they bring the ark to the battlefield to help them win. So Eli's his sons brought the ark. But the Philistines beat them anyway. On top of that they killed Eli's sons and took the ark back home with them.
The Philistines didn’t keep it long though. Because wherever they took it, sickness broke out. They soon sent it back to Israel where it was stored in a little town. But even then the Philistines didn’t stop hassling the Israelites. They were as cruel and bossy as ever.
This went on for twenty years. By now Samuel was a grown man. The people began coming to him for advice. “What can we do to defeat these Philistines?” they asked.
1. Here are some things Samuel could have told him. What did he say? (1 Samuel 7:3)A. Conscript more soldiers and build a bigger army.B. Do sword practice three hours a...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 17:15-20
TO CHEW ON: "But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, 'Do not do as they do.' " 2 Kings 17:14,15
Israel was in big trouble. It was about thirty years and five kings after Jeroboam II. Shalmaneser king of Assyria had discovered that Israel’s present king Hoshea had secretly made a pact with Egypt. When Hoshea stopped paying the tax that Shalmaneser demanded, he arrested King Hoshea and took him to an Assyrian prison.
Then his army went through the countryside, rounding up the people. When they came to Samaria, the gates were locked. But Shalmaneser had all the time in the world. His army camped outside the city and waited for the people inside to surrender.
The Samaritans hung on for three years. But finally, desperate for food and water, they surrendered. In no time Shalmaneser had rounded up all those people...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 17:22-28
TO CHEW ON: For as I walked around and observed your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: “To An Unknown God” Now what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you. Acts 17:23
As Paul waited in Athens for Timothy and Silas to join him, he walked around the city. On his walks he saw altars and statues (idols) to which the people prayed. He also saw an altar with a title that grabbed his attention: “To An Unknown God.”
"Paul Speaks at Athens" - Artist unknown
The next day he went to the public square where the people gathered to hear and discuss new ideas. He said to the people, “I see you have made an altar to ‘An Unknown God.’ Today I’m going to tell you about him.” Then he told them about Jesus...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 12:25-33
TO CHEW ON: "The king made two golden calves. He said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' " 1 Kings 12:28
Jeroboam went to live in Schechem and ruled Israel from there. The prophet had told him he would be a successful king if he obeyed God. Even so, Jeroboam began to be afraid. His people would go back to Jerusalem to worship. What if traveling back to Jerusalem would make them want Rehoboam as their king again?
So Jeroboam made a plan to keep that from happening. Instead of encouraging the people to worship God in the temple in Jerusalem he set up calf idols nearby – one in Dan and another in Bethel. He told the people, "Here are the gods who brought you out of Egypt." Then he chose people who weren’t in the Levi tribe to be the priests. They offered sacrifices to the golden calves.
Jeroboam also invented new festivals. At festival time, the people now went to Dan or Bethel instead of Jerusalem. In no time the people who had chosen Jeroboam as...
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 23:19-25
TO CHEW ON: "Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses." 2 Kings 23:25
“Everybody come to the temple. King Josiah has called a special meeting.” Quickly word traveled from house to house. When everyone had gathered, Josiah opened the book that the priests had found. He read aloud all the laws God had given Moses. Then in front of all the people he promised God that he would keep these laws for the rest of his life.
After he had dismissed everyone, he got to work.
Wherever there was an idol, he told his servants to smash it. Wherever there was an Asherah pole, he commanded it be taken down. Wherever there were altars, he broke them. He took down statues that had been dedicated to the sun god and made sure every dish, goblet, utensil or piece of furniture that had been used to worship an idol was taken out of the temple....
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