Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday, May 30th: 2 Kings 22-23, Matthew 16 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 22-23; Matthew 16

Sorry for the delay in today's post!

It's interesting to note that Manasseh was grew up during the time when his father, King Hezekiah, was at his weakest point spiritually speaking.  And interesting that Manasseh finally repented (not spoken of here, but described in Chronicles) after more than 50 years of dismantling what remained of Judah's loyalty to God - which possibly explains his son Amon's ungodliness, but his grandson Josiah's godliness.  Perhaps his repentance was too late for Amon to benefit from, but not too late for Josiah.

Judah experienced an incredible revival under King Josiah, but unfortunately it was not enough to undo the damage caused by Manasseh and the ungodly kinds before him.  Eventually God's patience runs out - a warning for us today!

Ray Vanderlaan (RVL) has some very interesting thoughts on our Matthew passage, particularly the portion where Jesus is speaking to Peter at Caesaria Philippi.....

Before going to Jerusalem, Jesus took his disciples to Caesarea Philippi, a place famous for its paganism — and place so evil that the rabbis taught that the Messiah would overthrow its power.
(Mat 16:13-19)  When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Notice Peter’s reference to the “Living God,” evidently in contrast to the pagan idols that were there.
RVL argues that “this rock” refers to the very rock where the idols sat and fertility practices took place. In effect, Jesus said, my church will come and overtake this paganism.
Jesus said the “gates of hell” would not stand against his church. But gates are defensive structures. Therefore, the image is that the gates of hades would not defeat conquest by the church. We are to be on the offense. We are called to go into the very heart of hell.
Our attitude is often to be defensive, to build gates, rather than to challenge and knock down gates.
Thus, Vander Laan, argues, Christian churches and schools should be training grounds for challenging and defeating Satan. (At the time these lessons were taught, RVL was a teacher in a Christian high school.)
Now, Jesus spent 3 years training his disciples in a controlled setting, and then he sent them out into the world — equipped with the Spirit. Christian schools need to be staging areas for how to go out into the world and confront evil, not defensive structures to protect us from the world.
There is a spiritual war, and we need to be on the offensive!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  2 Kings 24-25; Matthew 17


Conrad said...

Interesting point about christians being on the offensive. I never thought of it that way.

The verse that jumped out to me was 2 Kings 23:25:

"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"

What will people say about us when we have passed on? We need to seek the Lord daily, with all our heart, soul, and strength, and be on the offensive to make the paths straight just as Josiah did.

Pamela said...

Great thoughts from Ray Vanderlaan!

I can't help but think about Josiah's young age. Eight years old and ruling a kingdom. It's interesting to think that it would have been hard to be a godly leader following in the steps of the ungodliness before him. Was Josiah and guided by godly people and advisors or did he actually lead on his own. Also interesting to note that Josiah's son didn't follow the example Josiah set for him and turned from God. It is a good reminder that choosing to follow Christ is an individual decision and does not rely on what others have done or are doing. We must choose for ourselves.