Today’s Reading: The Book of Joel
Highlights: Joel prophecies about a coming “day of the Lord” judgment against Israel (1:1-2:11), calls for repentance (2:12-17), promises restoration (2:18-27), and foresees a future spiritual restoration (28-32). Chapter 3 foretells of the judgment coming on the nations that had attacked and oppressed God’s people, specifically mentioning Tyre, Sidon, Philistia, Egypt, and Edom. Interestingly the judgment against Israel is described as a devastating locust plague.
Important: Joel 2:28-32 is the famous “I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh” prophesy. In Acts 2 Peter will quote this as being fulfilled following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
Some very basic themes here are that sin will be punished among God’s people – that is why they are being judged. Also, God clearly desires to forgive his people when they sin. Heathen nations will also certainly be judged. The key to forgiveness is true repentance. What impresses you most about Joel’s description of repentance in 2:12-17?
Texts: 2 Chron.22:10-12, 2 Kings 10:18-31, 2 Chron 23, 2 Kings 11:21, 2 Kings 12:1-3
Highlights – Jehu continues cleansing the land of Baal worship by hosting a false worship celebration for all Baal worshippers. Those in attendance are all killed. As Jehu’s career is summed up he is commended for his zeal in ridding the nation of Baal worship and he is promised that he will have an heir on the throne for 4 generations.
When Ahaziah King of Israel died, his mother Athaliah “arose and killed all the royal heirs to the house of Judah”. One brother of Ahaziah escaped, the baby Joash, who was secured by Jehoshabeath his aunt (wife of Jehoiada the priest). In the 7th year of Athaliah’s rule, Jehoiada the priest arranges for Joash (7 years old) to be made King and Athaliah is killed. Jehoiada also leads a return to the law and the nation enjoys peace.
Kings of Judah: Ahaziah, Athalia, Joash
King of Israel: Jehu
One hero of today’s reading is Jehosheba (also called Jehoshaeath). How significant was her act of saving Joash?
Text: 2 Kings 8:7-29, 2 Chronicles 21:19-20, 2 Chron. 22:1-9, 2 Kings 9, 2 Kings 10:1-17
Highlights: In today’s reading God begins to “clean house”, getting rid of evil rulers in Syria, Israel, and Judah and all of the Baal followers and influences. This eradication of evil prophecied to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:16-17. First, Elisha goes to Damascus and appoints Hazael king of Syria who promptly kills Ben-Hadad. Then Elisha has one of his servants appoint Jehu son of Nimshi king of Israel and He kills all the family of Ahab starting with the kings of Israel and Judah and then Jezebeel. Jezebel’s servants throw her down into the courtyard and the dogs ate her flesh, just as Elijah had prophecied.
Kings in Judah: Jehoram, Ahaziah
King of Israel: Joram (also called Jehoram), Jehu
King of Syria: Ben Hadad, Hazael.
What would you say about Jehu, his style, and his fittedness for the job God raised him up to perform?
Today’s Reading: 2 Chron.21:18; 2 Kings 6:8-23, 2 Kings 8:3-6, 2 Kings 5, 2 Kings 6:24-33, 2 Kings 7
Highlights: Evil king Jehoram in Judah (who is married to Ahab’s daughter) is sick with the incurable intestinal disease just as Elijah had prophecied in the mysterious letter.
Meanwhile in Israel, the Syrians are harassing the Israelites, Elisha, and Samaria. On two occasions the Lord gives Israel miraculous deliverance. Naaman the leper, a commander of the Syrian army, is cured of his leprosy by obeying Elisha’s instructions, but the leprocy is attached to Gehazi, Elisha’s servant because of his dishonest greediness.
There are several powerful illustrations in today’s reading including the obedience of Naaman, Elisha praying for his servant’s eyes to be opened, and the surprising mercy shown to the Syrians who were surrounded in the city of Samaria (2 Kings 6:21-23). The king of Israel wanted to kill them. What does Elisha tell him to do instead? What’s the lesson here?
Today’s Reading: Obadiah
Highlights: The book of Obadiah is God’s judgment on Edom. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau and there is a long history of conflict between God’s people and the descendants of Esau, going all the way back to the twin sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau in the book of Genesis who even struggled with one another in their mother’s womb. When Israel made their journey from Egypt to Canaan the Edomites would not allow them to pass through their land. More recent to the time of our reading the Edomites have been in subjection to Judah – they fought with Jehoshaphat and the King of Israel in the battle against the Moabites. At the end of yesterday’s reading the Edomites rebelled against Judah (2 Chronicles 21:8).
What seems to be the main problem with Edom? What specific acts are they being condemned for? What principle concerning judgment do you see in verse 15?
Text to read: 2 Kings 8:16, 17; 2 Chron 21:1-4, 2 Kings 3:6-27; 2 Chronicles 20:34, 2 Chronicles 21:5-17
Highlights: A final act in the life of Jehoshaphat is recorded: At the request of the king of Israel he joins an alliance of Israel and Edom against the Moabites. Elisha disapproves of the alliance but offers them counsel and promises victory. The battle ends when the king of Moab offers his son as a sacrifice on the wall (2 Kings 3:27).
Jehoshaphat is succeeded by Jehoram (do not confuse with Jehoram of Israel) who married a daughter of Ahab. He is evil – he “walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done”. Edom and Libnah revolt, invade, and plunder his house and family. He receives a mysterious letter from Elijah rebuking his evil ways and predicting a terrible sickness.
How do you explain a letter coming to Jehoram from Elijah?
Today’s Text: 2 Kings 2, 2 Kings 4, 2 Kings 8:1-2; 6:1-7
Highlights: Elisha replaces Elijah. Elijah is taken up into heaven by a whirlwind but before he leaves Elisha requests a double portion of the spirit which was upon Elijah, which he receives. As evidence of the spirit 10 miracles are recorded that were performed by Elisha. Also included is one horrible incident of 42 youths being mauled by two female bears.
King of Judah: Jehoshaphat, Jehoram.
King of Israel: Jehoram.
What do you think about the selection of miracles recorded? Does a borrowed ax head being made to float seem that important? Why was the one widow chosen to be the recipient of 3 miracles? What can you say about the mauling of 42 youths by two bears?
Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 22:29-36, 2 Chronicles 19:1-3, 1 Kings 22:37-53; 2 Kings 3:4-5, 2 Chron. 19:4-11; 2 Chron. 20, 2 Kings 1, 2 Kings 3:1-3
Highlights: As Micaiah prophesied, Ahab dies in battle against Syria, and is succeeded by his son Ahaziah who is also evil. Jehoshaphat is rebuked for having allied himself with Ahab but overall he was a great king. 1 Chron.20 tells of how God gave him a great victory over the Ammonites and Moabites. Meanwhile in Israel Ahaziah becomes ill and inquires of Baal as to whether or not he will live. He will not, and one reason is because he did not think to inquire of God.
Kings of Judah: Jehoshaphat, Jehoram.
Kings of Israel: Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram
Ahab was determined to disprove the prophecy of Micaiah (1 Kings 22) so he disguised himself in the battle against Syria. He was killed anyway. What does this teach us about God, the word of God’s prophets, and man’s attempts to prove him wrong.
Today’s Texts: 1 Kings 20, 21; 2 Chronicles 18:2-3; 1 Kings 22:1-28
King of Israel: Ahab
King of Judah: Jehoshaphat
Highlights: A few events in the reign of Ahab are recorded. First, His victory in battle against Syria but then his refusal to eliminate the Syrian king Ben Hadad when the Lord had delivered him into his hand. Next, Jezebel has Naboth killed and Ahab takes possession of Naboth’s vineyard. Finally the king of Judah allies himself with Ahab to fight the Syrians. The prophet Micaiah warns that they will be defeated and is put in prison.
What does the story of Micaiah (1 Kings 22) teach about the integrity of a prophet then, or any person today and their responsibility to the word of God?
Today’s Reading – 1Kings 17, 18, 19
Highlights: God uses Elijah to confront Ahab and the Baal worship he has introduced. His first action was to proclaim a drought. Later he arranges the contest on Mount Carmel in which the foolishness of Baal worship is exposed and the power of God is revealed. When God consumes the sacrifice with fire the people who saw it said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God” (1 Kings 18:37). Jezebel vows to kill Elijah which causes him to flee and become despondent but God calls him to renew his work which includes annointing new kings of Syria and Israel (replace Ahab) and a new prophet (Elisha) to succeed himself.
“It is enough! Take my life” (19:4). “I alone am left and they seek to take my life” (19:14). Even faithful people get discouraged. After Carmel, when Jezebel vows to kill Elijah, he hides and flees to the wilderness – all the way to Mount Horeb. God finds him and asks “What are you doing here Elijah?”. How do you explain his behavior?