What we are reading this week (beginning Thursday, February 10, 2022):
• 2 Kings 3-9
• Job 33-39
• 1 Chronicles 25-29 ~ 2 Chronicles 1-2
As we begin 2 Chronicles this week, only two books remain unread yet: Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. The end is not too far away!
Notes on 2 Kings
We will see the ministry of Elisha, as he lives out the “double portion” given to him from the Lord as he requested (2.9-12). His intervention in the battle between the combined forces of Israel and Judah against Moab shows the very peculiar ways of the prophet. The godly but clueless Jehoshaphat foolishly agrees to go to battle with Ahab’s son Joram. As they meet together, Elisha tells the Israelite king, “If I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay attention to you” (3.14). Then he calls for a harpist, and as he plays, the prophet gives them a prophecy that would require they simply wait for the enemy to come right to them, unprepared for battle. God fights and wins this battle for them in an amazing way. In chapter four, we see several miracles, with precursors to what we will see in the ministry of Jesus. Elisha raises the dead, and then feeds one hundred with twenty loaves (as Jesus will feed five thousand with five). In chapter five, Elisha is called to heal Naaman, a commander of the army of Aram that was a fierce opponent of Israel. The events are triggered by the advice of a young girl who had been kidnapped and was living as a slave, yet remembered the stories about the man of God (5.2-3). Ghazi was the attendant to Elisha as Elisha had been to Elijah. But at the end of chapter five, he forfeits his destiny (19b-27). The foolishness of trying to sneak up on a guy to whom God reveals details about his enemy when you are his enemy and so you want to get back at him for sneaking up on you… you get the idea, it’s a really bad idea. See 6.12-13.
Elisha continues to do amazing things in chapter six. Ghazi is left unnamed in this chapter (6.15, 17; unless he has been temporarily replaced), but we will see him in chapter eight again. In this famous account, where the Lord afflicts the enemies of Israel with blindness, the army is that of Naaman who just received healing from leprosy in the previous chapter. We see again in this chapter the horses and chariots of fire, this time coming to protect the people of God. Elisha does not have the invaders put to death, but sets up a big dinner party for them and sends them on their way. Yet this same group comes back again (6.24), and lays siege to Samaria. Things get pretty dire inside the city gates, but God again fights the battle for them and in chapter seven they experience an astounding victory yet again. This same enemy, Aram, amazingly has the hutzpah to elicit counsel from Elisha when the king falls ill. See 8.7-8. In Judah, Jehoshaphat’s wicked son Jehoram replaces him, and Judah suffer through several nasty kings in a row. In chapter nine, we come to the account of the zealous and reckless Jehu. You can’t tell if he had any spiritual life in him or not, but he made a mess of the idols and their priests and worshipers in Israel. He was the Wrecking Ball of God.
Even in Israel (the northern kingdom) that never knew a godly king, the prophet had authority to anoint kings. See 9.1-3.
Notes on Job
The young man Elihu continues on his discourse uninterrupted through chapter 37. He gives some amazing insights on the Lord. Here are a few of my favorites:
· Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words? For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it. (33.14-15, followed by some examples)
· God has no need to examine people further, that they should come before him for judgment. (34.23)
· Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? (34.33a)
Elihu’s scientific and spiritual description of a thunderstorm are interesting (36.27-30). God will speak to Job out of a storm (38.1), so they apparently could hear its approach here (see 28.26, 36.29, 37.2-15), and this was most likely why Elihu brought this up.
As God speaks, he first off begins rebuking Job. He talks about the wonders of his creation, first addressing the foundations of the earth, morning, the sea, light, the weather, the stars; then he moves to descriptions of animals and their ways beginning toward the end of chapter 38 and going all the way through 39.
Notes on 1 Chronicles
Moses was of the tribe of Levi, and the Levites will be the “pastors” of Israel, scattered among the tribes. The priests will be a subset of that family and live in and around Jerusalem and perform all of the Temple worship. You would think that Moses’ descendants would be the obvious choice, but the honor went to his brother Aaron. It was Aaron’s sons who would lead the Temple worship throughout history. In chapters 24-27, we are given lists of those in various ministry and governmental positions. This reading is tedious along the lines of genealogies. We don’t know who wrote the Chronicles, but some scholars think that Ezra did. He did so, they surmise, after the exile in order to encourage the people. Along with that, there was the need to establish order and make accurate records of everything. This detailed accounting here would be consistent along those lines.
In 25.1, we read about some of the full-time worship pastors that David established. You will see several of these names ascribed to many of the Psalms. We see in 28.9 David’s charge to the crown prince Solomon. In spite of all David’s wives and children, at least Solomon personally heard much wisdom from his father. Notice the ascription to his father all of the wisdom of Proverbs 1.8-7.27 (and this may include chapters 8 and 9 as well). Notice how many times “my son” comes up in his narrative.
David badly wanted to build the Temple, but God said no, this task would go to his son. He made Solomon’s job so much easier by designing the entire structure and putting everything into writing for him (28.11-19). David encouraged his son Solomon to be “strong and courageous” as he built the Temple, even though Solomon would find little resistance on any front, other than in his own soul (28.20).
In chapter 29, David contributes enormously out of his own personal wealth for the construction (29.3), and then offers a prayer as only he, the man of God, could do. Notes on 2 Chronicles
We see Solomon asking for wisdom to lead God’s people in the first chapter. But even the wisest of men make unwise choices. The first crack is seen in 1.14, where he begins to accumulate chariots and horses, against the command of Deuteronomy 17:16.