Today’s Text: Isaiah 10, 11, 12 and 2 Chronicles 28:5-21
Highlights: In chapter 10 Isaiah focuses on Assyria, the nation God is using to judge His people. The Assyrians are letting the power given to them by God “go to their heads” and becoming proud, so in the proper time they will be judged. Chapter 11 is an exciting, beautiful picture of the coming King and kingdom. Note especially Chapter 12: a beautiful a celebration of the good things God will do through the coming King. Finally, more history is given about the reign of evil king Ahaz – how Judah is oppressed by Israel, Syria, Edom, Philistia, and Assyria all because of Ahaz’s sins.
Today’s reading begins by describing more of the sin of Israel which is bringing God’s wrath (in the form of Assyria). What 4 groups of people does God identify in 10:1,2 who were being oppressed? Why is God so concerned about these? What does this teach us about the character of God?
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 7, 8, 9
Highlights: Today’s reading contains the well known prophecies: “A virgin shall conceive and bear a child and you shall call his name Immanuel” (7:14), and “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given….Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. (9:6)”. These prophecies of a future king are interspersed among matters that were current to Judah and King Ahaz – God’s deliverance to Judah and coming destruction of Samaria “within 65 years” (7:7).
It can be difficult sometimes to determine the fulfillment of a prophecy. Did it apply to the present day? Was it speaking of Jesus? Could it have had a dual application? How do we know the two mentioned above at least in part refer to the coming of Jesus?
Texts: 2 Kings 15:29-38; 1 Chron. 5:23-26, 2 Kings 17:1, 2; 2 Kings 16:1, 2; 2 Chron.28:1-4
Today’s reading catches us up on the kings reigning in Israel and Judah. In the North it is basically a time of anarchy. The last stability of any type was king Jeroboam (the 2nd) who was the 4th generation of Jehu (who wiped out the house of Ahab). Following him a series of kings reign each for a short time. Finally Hoshea becomes king and he will be Israel’s last king. During these days the Assyrians are beginning to take Israel into Assyrian captivity.
In Judah, good king Jotham is followed by his son Ahaz who is very evil. One result of his evil is a God sent conflict with Syria and Israel (1 Kings 15:37).
This history verifies what Solomon had written years earlier: “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). It was true then and it is true now. It is true of nations and also of individuals. What does Galatians 6:7-8 tell us about this? Note especially what verse 7 says about the nature of God.
Text: Micah 6, 7
Highlights: The beginning of today’s reading is somewhat like Hosea – God’s heart is opened up and we see how much he longs for His people. “O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.” He then goes on to tell of all the good and wonderful things He had done for them, beginning with the deliverance from Israel. Chapter 6 tells us what God really wanted from them (and from us as well): “To do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God”. Chapter 7 revisits the sin of the people but closes, like we have seen so often before, with an assurance of how God longs to forgive!
Question: 7:18 begins “Who is like God?” a question that is valid in so many areas (God’s power, righteousness, wisdom, etc) but what is the topic in this verse? Micah makes a great point, but isn’t it true that WE should be like God in this area?
Today’s Reading: Micah 3, 4, 5
Highlights: Micah’s prophecy continues. Chapter 3 continues the condemnation, especially aimed at the rulers and heads (think kings and priests) of the nation who had led the nation astray. Verse 11 says they were motivated by money and were deluded in thinking God was with them. Verse 12 says again that judgment is coming.
Chapters 4 and 5 revive the idea of hope and God’s mercy. The coming enemy (Assyria) will be destroyed. Chapter 4 foresees a glorious time in the future, the “latter days”, when the God’s people will have peace. Chapter 5:2 says a ruler will come from Bethlehem, but actually His “goings forth are from old, from everlasting”. We know this refers to Jesus!
Consider that Micah 4:1-7 is a Messianic prophecy describing the salvation that God will provide through Jesus – the “church age”. What parts the prophecy seem to fit this interpretation? What parts are difficult to apply to the church?
Today’s Text: Micah 1, 2
Highlights: Today we begin a few days in the Old Testament book of Micah. The book concerns “Samaria and Jerusalem” (1:1) so it applies to both nations. The Lord is coming (1:3) to judge sin (1:5). “I will make Samaria a a heap of ruins” (1:6). The dreadful Assyrians will fulfill this prophesy and end the northern kingdom in just a few years. Chapter 2 begins “woe to those who devise iniquity and work out evil on their beds”.
One of the reasons we study these accounts is that human nature doesn’t change. People who are being corrected often reject the ones who point out their sin. The New Testament tells of a time when men will “no longer endure sound teaching” and “having itching ears turn their ears away from the truth” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). In Micah 2:6 they said “do not prophesy” or “do not preach”. “Quit your preaching” one translation says. What does he say in verse 7 that should help anyone, ourselves included, gladly submit to God’s word?
Today’s Texts: Isaiah 5:24-30, 1:27-31, 2:19-3:7, 1:18-20, 4:2-6, 2:1-5, 2 Kings 15:19-33, Isa 6:1-13, 2 Chron 26:22-23, 2 Chron.27:1-6.
Highlights: These early sections in Isaiah continue to describe the sinfulness of Judah and how God is going to raise up “nations from afar” to punish them.
There is also much hope: “Though your sins are as scarlet they can be as white as snow – if you are willing and obedient.” (1:18-19). The beginning of chapters 2 and 4 picture a great and glorious time of peace for God’s people which is difficult to imagine given the current state of affairs.
The readings close with some historical information – changes of regime in the Northern Kingdom as the Assyrians begin to subdue Israel. In the South, Uzziah dies and his son Jotham, a good king, begins to reign
The vision of Isaiah’s call (Chapter 6) contains an interesting statement: “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9-10).
It sounds like God didn’t want them to change! Jesus quotes this and applies it to those who rejected his teachings. Did God not want them to repent? Why couldn’t they understand? What do you make of this?
Today’s Text: Isaiah 1:1-17, 5:1-7,1:21-26, 2:6-18, 3:8-4:1, 32:9-11, 5:8-23,
Highlights: Today we begin reading Isaiah. Isaiah 1:1 tells us the book is written concerning “concerning Judah and Jerusalem” and is written during the reigns of 4 kings of the southern kingdom of Judah. It will be during this time span, specifically during the days of Hezekiah, that the Northern Kingdom will be taken into Assyrian captivity. There is some good during this time period but often Southern Kingdom of Judah is just as bad, if not worse, than the Northern Kingdom of Israel. These first few readings describe their sins and warnings about coming judgment.
Judah has sinned. He says they have less loyalty than an ox or donkey does to its master. He calls them a harlot and likens them to Sodom and Gomorrah. What are some of the specific sins mentioned in this reading? What seems to be the predominant transgression?
Texts: 2 Kings 12:21, 2 Kings 13:20-25, 2 Kings 14:1-24, 2 Chronicles 25:5-24
Amaziah suceeds Joash (the 7 year old) in Judah. He does some good things but is somewhat of a warmonger. He organizes a great army and defeats the Edomites, but then for some reason brings home Edomite idols and worships them! Then he picks a fight with the king of Israel (Jehoash) which he loses, and the King of Israel plunders Jerusalem.
In Israel, Elisha is dying and in a deathbed consultation with Jehoash predicts more wars with Syria.
Question: In 2 Chronicles 25 the king of Judah had hired 100,000 Israelites to fight for him. Why was this rebuked by the prophet? What was Amaziah told about the 100 talents he had already given to the troops of Israel?
An aside —- I took a break from studying through this ancient history of Israel and Syria recently and I checked one of the online news outlets and saw this headline:
Honestly, I was momentarily confused as to what was current event and what was history. This could have been lifted right out of Kings and Chronicles. Syria and Israel are still fighting today! Instead of Jehoash and Hazael, it is Assad and Peres. Not much has changed!
Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 12, 2 Kings 10:32-35, 2 Chron.24, 2 Kings 13:1-20
Kings of Judah – Joash, Amaziah
Kings of Israel – Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash
Highlights: Judah is ruled by Joash, the 7 year old king. We soon learn that the real goodness of his reign is the influence of Jehoida the priest (husband of Jehoshabeth who had rescued him from Athaliah). Today’s reading shows that when Jehoiada dies, Joash has very little, if any, spiritual integrity. After being wounded in battle with Syria he is killed by conspirators and succeeded by his son Amaziah.
In Israel, Jehu is succeeded by Jehoahaz and Jehoash. They were mostly evil (like the first Jeroboam). Elisha dies after prophesying that the Syrians would continue to harass Israel.
Any hope about Joash, the 7 year old king, being a great hero for Judah is turned into disappointment when we read about his reign. He was an idolater and he killed the prophet Zechariah the son of Jehoiadah! All sin, disobedience, and murder is reprehensible. Why was this act especially awful? (See 2 Chronicles 24:22).