Monday, July 4, 2016

Monday, July 4: 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21

Scripture:  2 Chronicles 30:8-9  Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”

Observation:We cannot always blame our current situation on others but we need to own up for our mistakes and repent.

Application: I teach Grade 1. I spend so much time dealing with little situations that happen after recess or during class time and often the argument for disobedience boils down to "But they were doing it and so I did too". Grade 1 friends are not easily able to identify their own role in bad behaviour but are very quick to point out that others did it too. We too can be stubborn to admit our own failings and can be quick to blame others when we fail.

This passage says "do not be stiff-necked as your fathers were..." What exactly does it mean to be "stiff necked"? I found this commentary that highlighted 8 attributes of "stiff necked people" and the main cause:

They had an attitude problem.
Pride keeps us from hearing what God is saying. Pride makes our necks stiff. 
What are the marks of stiff-necked people?
1. Certainty that you are right.
2. Refusal to listen to anyone else.
3. Defensive when criticized.
4. Making excuses for your shortcomings.
5. Lashing out at others.
6. No desire to examine your own life.
7. Repeated pattern of misbehavior.
8. Prayer without repentance.
This can happen to any of us when we become hardened in our ways and so certain of ourselves that no one can reach us. We don’t realize what has happened until judgment comes. 
When our attitudes are the problem and we refuse to see what we need to do we become like the 6 year olds in my class lashing out and refusing to listen to anything because we believe we are in the right. However, our refusal to accept responsibility has a greater consequence beyond the current circumstance of disobedience. It results in #7 above "Repeated pattern of misbehaviour" and this often passed from parents to their children as the passage states. When we exhibit a pattern of disobedience we invite God's anger and wrath on us just as the people of Israel experienced.

Disobedience invites God's wrath but repentance is received when we return to God. He is always willing to welcome us back with open arms. What's that quote?? No matter how far you've moved away from God you are only 1 step away from returning to Him. What a comfort to know that no matter how stiff-necked we get, not matter what kind of family environment we've grown up in, no matter what we've done in the presence of bad company we are just one step away from forgiveness if we ask for it.

Hezekiah had a big job before him. He had to teach people how to repent and follow the commands of God long after they were almost forgotten. He had to endure hardship as he encouraged people back on the right path. He was laughed at and teased. Hezekiah did not back down despite adversity. He completed what he set out to do and what God wanted him to do and God was faithful to Hezekiah. Hezekiah did not blame his family circumstance and he owned up to his shortcomings and became an example to those around him. This commentary summarizes Hezekiah's life:

Hezekiah, a son of the wicked King Ahaz, reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah for twenty-nine years, from c. 726 to 697 BC. He began his reign at age 25 (2 Kings 18:2). He was more zealous for the Lord than any of his predecessors (2 Kings 18:5). During his reign, the prophets Isaiah and Micah ministered in Judah.

After Ahaz’s wicked reign, there was much work to do, and Hezekiah boldly cleaned house. Pagan altars, idols, and temples were destroyed. The bronze serpent that Moses had made in the desert (Numbers 21:9) was also destroyed, because the people had made it an idol (2 Kings 18:4). The temple in Jerusalem, whose doors had been nailed shut by Hezekiah’s own father, was cleaned out and reopened. The Levitical priesthood was reinstated (2 Chronicles 29:5), and the Passover was reinstituted as a national holiday (2 Chronicles 30:1). Under Hezekiah’s reforms, revival came to Judah.

Because King Hezekiah put God first in everything he did, God prospered him. Hezekiah “held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook” (2 Kings 18:6–7).

Prayer: Lord, we have many excuses that we make to justify or excuse our disobedience. You see right through our excuses into our sinful hearts. Help us to take responsibility for our actions and know that we alone are responsible. Let us humble ourselves to seek forgiveness and accept correction. Thank you for giving Your grace so freely if we just ask. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:


Nathan Reimer said...

2 Chronicles 29:31
Then Hezekiah said, “You have now consecrated yourselves to[a] the Lord. Come near; bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord.” And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all who were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.

The last part of this verse caught my attention, "all who were of a willing heart..."

I want be one of those that has a willing heart to serve God, this is my prayer. It's my choice if I really want to or not, I want to want it.

Tammy Reimer said...

I definitely want to serve God with a willing heart, instead of being stiff-necked. I think many of us can relate to good portion of the list of attributes of stiff-necked people - at least, I sure can. I want to bring all those selfish and sinful desires to the cross so that I do not spiral into a downward cycle of misbehaviour and hard heartedness.