December 29, 2016

2 Chronicles 34-36 - 
Josiah was 8 years old when he became king and ruled for 33 years.  He behaved well before God.  He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to the left or right....

When Josiah had been king for 8 years, he began to seek the God of David his ancestor.  4 years later, he set out to cleanse the Temple.  While the money that had been given for the Temple of God was being received and dispersed, Hilkiah the high priest found a copy of the Revelation of Moses.  He gave it to Shaphan, the royal secretary, who gave it to the king...  Shaphan proceeded to read it to the king.  

When the king heard what was written in the book, God’s revelation, he ripped his robes in dismay...He ordered his leaders to “Go and pray to God for me and what’s left of Israel and Judah.  Find out what we must do in response to what is written in this book that has just been found”....  

Hilkaih and those picked by the king went straight to Huldah, the prophetess...In response to them she said, “Tell the men who sent you here, ‘God has spoken, I am on my way to bring the doom of judgment on this place and this people.  Every word written in this book will happen.  And why?  Because they’ve deserted me and taken up with other gods...And also tell the king of Judah, since he sent you to ask God for direction...‘Because you took seriously the doom of judgment I spoke against this place and people, and because you responded in humble repentance...I’ll take care of you; you’ll have a quiet death and be buried in peace.  You won’t be around to see the doom that I am going to bring upon this place and people’... 

The king acted immediately, assembling all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem, and then proceeding to The Temple of God...Then he read out publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant that was found in the Temple.  The king stood by his pillar and before God solemnly committed himself to the covenant; to follow God believ-ingly and obediently, to follow his instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do; to confirm with his life the entire covenant, all that was written in the book....All through Josiah’s life the people kept to the straight and narrow, obediently following God, the God of their ancestors.

Josiah celebrated the Passover of God in Jerusalem...everything went without a hitch in the worship of God that day as they celebrated the Passover and the offering of the Whole-Burnt-Offering on the Altar of God...The Passover hadn’t been celebrated like this since the days of Samuel, the prophet...in the 18th year of Josiah, this Passover was celebrated.

Some time later, after Josiah’s reformation of The Temple, Egypt’s king (Neco) was passing through Judah on his way to war up north.  Josiah went out to fight him even though the king of Egypt informed Josiah he was only seeking to pass through...But Josiah was looking for a fight and wouldn’t listen to what Egypt’s king had to say....Though Josiah disguised himself when they met on the plain, archers shot him anyway.  His servants took him and drove him back to Jerusalem.  He died there ....Everybody in Judah and Jerusalem attended his funeral.  Jeremiah composed an anthem of lament.

Jehoahaz was 23 when he began to rule. He ruled a mere 3 months when the king of Egypt dethroned him and made Eliakim, Jehoahaz’s brother, king but changed his name to Jehoiakim.  Jehoiakim was 25 when he began to rule.  He was king for 11 years and was an evil king in God’s opinion.  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon made war with him and took him prisoner to Babylon.  He also took things from the Temple of God to Babylon. Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim’s son, became the next king.  He was 18 and ruled only 3 months before Nebuchadnezzar also had him brought to Babylon then made his uncle Zedekiah a puppet king over Judah and Jerusalem.  

Zedekiah was 21 when he started out as king and served 11 years.  He was just one more evil king; there wasn’t a trace of contrition in him when Jeremiah preached God’s word to him.  Then he compounded his trouble by rebelling against King Nebuchadnezzar.  He became set in his own stubborn ways--he never gave God a thought; repentance never entered his mind.  God, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent warning messages to them.  Out of compassion for both his people and his Temple he wanted to give them every chance possible.  But they wouldn’t listen; they poked fun of God’s messengers, despised the message itself and in general treated the prophets like idiots.  God became more and more angry until there was no turning back...God called in Nebuchadnezzar...who came  and killed indiscriminately....and then he plundered The Temple of everything valuable, cleaned it out completely....and hauled it all, people and possessions, off to Babylon.  He burned The Temple of God to the ground, knocked down the wall of Jerusalem and set fire to all the buildings, everything valuable was burned up...

This is exactly the message of God that Jeremiah had preached: the desolate land put to an extended sabbath rest, a 70 year Sabbath rest making up for all the unkept Sabbaths.  In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia--this fulfilled the message of God preached by Jeremiah --God moved Cyrus to make an official announcement throughout his kingdom; he wrote it out as follows: “From Cyrus a proclamation: “From the God of the heavens, he has given me all the kingdoms of the earth.  He has also assigned me to build him a Temple of worship at Jerusalem in Judah.  All who belong to God’s people are urged to return --and may your God be with you!  Move forward!!”     

Revelations 22 - 
Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright.  It flowed from the Throne of God and Lamb, right down the middle of the street.  The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing 12 kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month...The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs.  And they will rule with him age after age after age.  

I, John, saw all these things with my own eyes, heard them with my ears.  Immediately when I heard and saw, I fell on my face to worship at the feet of the Angel who laid it all out before me.  He objected, “No you don’t!...Worship God!”...

I, Jesus, sent my Angel to testify to these things for the churches.  I’m the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Moning Star.”  “Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride.  Whoever hears, echo, “Come!”  Is anyone thirsty, “Come!”  All who will, come and drink.  Drink freely of the Water of Life!...The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you.  Oh, Yes!

December 28, 2016

2 Chronicles 32-33 - 
And then, after this exemplary track record, the king of Assyria came and attacked Judah...

When Hezekiah realized that the king’s strategy was to take Jerusalem, he began by eliminating the water supply outside the city... There was a great turnout of people to plug the springs and tear down the aqueduct...He also went to work repairing every part of the city wall that was damaged, built defense towers on it, built another wall of defense further out, and reinforced the defense ...

Hezekiah rallied the people saying, “Be strong!  Take Courage  Don’t be intimidated by the king of Assyria and his troops--there are more on our side than on their side.  He only has a bunch of mere men; we have our God to help us and fight for us!”  Morale surged.  Hezekiah’s words put steel in their spines....

The king of Assyria continued to send letters insulting the God of Israel...King Hezekiah, joined by the prophet Isaiah, responded by praying, calling up to heaven.  God answered by sending an angel who wiped out everyone in the Assyrian camp following which the king of Assyria was forced to go home in disgrace, tail between his legs.  When he went into the temple of his god, his sons killed him.

Some time later Hezekiah became deathly sick.  He prayed to God and was given a reassuring sign.  But the sign, instead of making Hezekiah grateful, made him arrogant. This made God angry...but Hezekiah repented of his arrogance and God withdrew his anger while Hezekiah lived.  Hezekiah ended up very wealthy and much honored.

Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king and ruled for 55 years.  In God’s opinion he was a bad king...he reintroduced all the moral rot and spiritual corruption that had been scoured from the country...Much evil--in God’s view a career of evil.  And God was angry.  As a last straw, he placed a carved image of the sex goddess Asherah that had been commissioned in the Temple of God...So Manasseh led Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem off the beaten path into practices of evil exceeding even the evil of the pagan nations that God had earlier destroyed.  When God spoke to Manasseh and his people about this, they ignored him.  Then God directed the leaders of the troops of Assyria to come after Manasseh...Now that he was in trouble, he went to his knees in prayer asking for help--total repentance before the God of his ancestors.  As he prayed, God was touched;  God listened and brought him back to Jerusalem as king.  That convinced Manasseh that God was in control....

Amon was 22 years old when he became king and was king for 2 years.  In God’s opinion, he lived an evil life like his father but he never did repent to God as Manasseh repented.  In the end, Amon’s servants revolted and assassinated him...The citizens then crowned Josiah, Amon’s son, as king.

Revelations 21 - 
I saw Heaven and earth new-created.  Gone the first heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea...

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look!  Look!  God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women!...He’ll wipe out every tear from their eyes.  Death is gone for good--tears gone, crying gone, pain gone--all the first order of things gone....It’s happened.  I am A to Z.  I’m the beginning. I’m the conclusion.  From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty

One of the Seven Angels who had carried the bowls filled with the seven final disasters spoke to me, “Come here, I’ll show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb...

(description of the new Holy Jerusalem) but there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God--the Sovereign-Strong--and the Lamb are the Temple...

God’s glory is its light and earth’s kings bring in their splendor.... Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will get in.

December 27, 2016

2 Chronicles 29-31 - 
Hezekiah became king when he was 25 years old and was king for 29 years.  In God’s opinion, he was a good king; he kept to the standards of his ancestor David....

In the first month of the first year of his reign....Hezekiah assembled the priest and Levites in the court of the Temple and told them to consecrate themselves and the Temple...”I have decided to make a covenant with the God of Israel and turn history around so that God will no longer be angry with his us.”....They began the temple cleaning on the first day of the first month and by the eighth day they had worked their way out to the porch---eight days it took them to clean and consecrate the Temple itself, and in eight more days they had finished with the entire Temple complex.... 

Then Hezekiah got all the leaders of the city together and marched to the Temple of God....Hezekiah then made this response: “The dedication is complete-- you’re consecrated to God.  Come forward and bring your sacrifices and Thank-Offerings to The Temple of God.”  And come they did...Hezekiah and the congregation celebrated: God had established a firm foundation for the lives of the people -- and so quickly!  

Then Hezekiah invited all of Israel and Judah...to come to The Temple of God in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to Israel’s God....The invitation read, “O Israelites! Come back to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, so that he can return to you who have survived the predations of the kings of Assyria.  Don’t repeat the sins of your ancestors who turned their backs on God, the God of their ancestors who then brought them to ruin --you can see the ruins all around you.  Don’t be pigheaded as your ancestors were.  Clasp God’s outstretched hand.  Come to his Temple of holy worship, consecrated for all time.  Serve God, your God.  You’ll no longer be in danger of his hot anger.  If you come back to God your captive relatives and children will be treated compassionately and allowed to come home.  Your God is gracious and kind and won’t snub you --come back and he’ll welcome you with open arms.”....

So the couriers set out,....but the people poked fun of them, treated them as a joke.  But not all: some from Asher, Manasseh, and Jebulun weren’t too proud to accept the invitation and come to Jerusalem.  It was better in Judah---God worked powerfully among them to make it unanimous, responding to the orders sent out by the king, orders backed by the word of God.  It turned out that there was a tremendous crowd of people when the time came in the second month to celebrate the Passover....The priests and the Levites weren’t ready; but now, embarrassed in their laziness, they consecrated themselves and brought offerings to The Temple of God....Because so many in the congregation had not prepared themselves by consecration and so were not qualified, the Levites took charge so that the sacrifices would be properly consecrated to God...

Hezekiah prayed for those who had not prepared themselves adequately as follows: “May God who is all good, pardon and forgive everyone who sincerely desires God, the God of our ancestors.  Even -- especially! ---these who do not meet the literal conditions state for access to the Temple.”  God responded to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people....When the feast and festival.....were over, the tables cleared and the floors swept, they all decided to keep going for another seven days.  So they kept on celebrating, and as joyfully as they began...

After the Passover, they all took off for the cities of Judah and smashed false gods and provide an overabundance of offerings....Hezekiah then ordered storerooms to be prepared in the Temple of God...Faithful support out in the cities was provided...they were evenhanded in their distributions to their coworkers....Hezekiah carried out this work and kept it up everywhere in Judah.  He was the very best---good, right and true before his God.  Everything he took up, whether it had to do with worship in God’s temple or the carrying out of God’s laws and commandments, he did well in a spirit of prayerful worship.  He was a great success.

Revelations 20 -  
I saw an angel descending out of Heaven.  He carried the key to the Abyss and a chain...He grabbed the Dragon...chained him up for a thousand years , dumped him into the Abyss.  ...After that he has to be let loose briefly.

I saw thrones.  Those put in charge of judgment sat on the thrones...When the thousand years are up, Satan will be let loose from his cell and will launch again his old work of deceiving the nations, searching out victims in every nook and cranny of earth...The Devil though, who deceived them will be hurled into Lake Fire and Brimstone, joining the Beast and the False Prophet, the three in torment around the clock for ages without end.

I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned.  Nothing could stand before or against the presence...And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there--before the Throne.  And books were opened.  

Then another Book was opened: the Book of LIfe.  The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived... Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived...Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire. 

December 26, 2016

The people of Judah then took Uzziah, who was only 16 years old and made him king...He reigned for 52 years...He behaved well in the eyes of God, following in the footsteps of his father Amaziah.  He was a loyal seeker of God.  He was well trained by his pastor and teacher Zechariah to live in reverent obedience before God, and for as long as Zechariah lived, Uzziah lived a godly life and God prospered him....

But then the strength and success went to his head.  Arrogant and proud, he fell.  One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over....The priest Azariah, backed by 80 brave priest of God, tried to prevent him and confronted him...Uzziah lost his temper, angry words were exchanged---and then, even as they quarreled, a skin disease appeared on his forehead....he knew that God then and there had given him the disease.  He had his skin disease for the rest of his life and had to live in quarantine so his son Jotham, who managed the royal palace, took over the government of the country.

Jotham was 25 years old when he became king...in God’s eyes he lived a good life, following the path of his father.  Unlike his father, though, he didn’t desecrate The Temple of God...Jotham’s strength was rooted in his steady and determined life of obedience to God.

Jotham’s son, Ahaz, was 20 years old when he became king and reigned for 16 years.  He didn’t live right in the eyes of God: he wasn’t at all like his ancestor David.  Instead, he followed in the track of Israel, even casting metal figurines for worshiping the pagan Baal gods...God, fed up, handed him over to the king of Aram, who beat him badly and took many prisoners to Damascus...  Arrogant, King Ahaz, acting as if he could do without God’s help, had unleashed an epidemic of depravity.  Judah, brought to its knees by God, was now reduced to begging for a handout....Desperate, Ahaz, ransacked The Temple of God, the royal palace, and every other place he could think of, scraping together everything he could and gave it to the king of Assyria --and got nothing in return, not a bit of help.  But King Ahaz didn’t learn his lesson --at the very time that everyone was turning against him, he continued to be against God.

Revelations 19 -  
I heard a sound like massed choirs in Heaven singing, Hallelujah!  

The salvation and glory and power are God’s-  his judgments true, his judgments just...Then more singing, Hallelujah...The 24 elders and the 4 animals fell to their knees and worshiped God on his Throne, praising, Amen!  Hallelujah!!  From the throne came a shout, a command:  Praise our God, all you his servants, all you who fear him small and great!....Hallelujah!!!

The Angel came to me, “ Write this, ‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb,”...I fell at his feet to worship him, but he wouldn’t let me.  “Don’t do that, “ he said, “I am a servant just like you, and like your brothers and sisters who hold to the witness of Jesus.  The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Then I saw Heaven open wide--and oh! a white horse and its Rider.  The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness....on his robe and thigh is written, KING of KINGS, LORD of LORDS....I saw the Beast...ready to make war against the One on the horse...The Beast was thrown alive into Lake Fire & Brimstone.
The rest were killed by the sword of the One on the horse...

December 25, 2016

2 Chronicles 24-25 - 
Joash was 7 yrs. old when he became king; he was king for 40 years in Jerusalem...  Taught and trained by Jehoiada, Joash did what pleased God throughout Jehoiada’s lifetime.  Jehoiada picked out two wives for him... 

The time came when Joash determined to renovate the Temple..but the Levites dragged their feet and didn’t do anything...Then the king called in Jehoiada and asked why the Levites were dragging their feet.  Following the king’s orders, they made a chest and placed it outside the entrance to the Temple.  Then they sent out a tax notice...the people and their leaders were glad to do it and cheerfully brought  their money until the chest was full....When they had finished the work, they returned the surplus money that was then used for making sacred vessels for Temple worship... 

But after the death of Jehoiada things fell apart... Things went from bad to worse, they deserted the Temple of God and took up with the cult of a sex goddess.  God sent prophets to straighten them out but nobody paid attention.  

Then the spirit of God moved Zachariah, son of Jehoiada, the priest to speak up; “God’s word: Why have you deliberately walked away from God’s commandments?  You can’t live this way!  If you walk out on God, he’ll walk out on you.”  But they worked out a plot against Zachariah and with the complicity of the king--he actually gave the order!--they murdered him, pelting him with rocks, right in the court of the Temple of God...That’s the thanks Joash showed the loyal Jehoiada...he murdered his son......

A year or so later, Aramean troops attacked Joash... This army was quite small , but God used them to wipe out Joash’s large army--- their punishment for deserting God...They left Joash badly wounded and his own servants finished him off--it was a palace conspiracy, avenging the murder of the son of Jehoiada.  They killed him in his bed.

Amaziah, Joash’s son, was 25 years old when he became king and reigned for 29 years...He lived well before God, doing the right thing for the most part.  But he wasn’t wholeheartedly devoted to God...he executed the palace guard who had assassinated his father...but he didn’t kill the sons of the assassins --he was mindful that parents shouldn’t be executed for their children’s sins, nor children for their parents’.. We each pay personally for our sins...

Revelations 18 - 
Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven.  His authority was immense...his voice thunderous...

December 24, 2016

2 Chronicles 21:2 - 23:21 - 
Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, had six brothers.  His father lavished them with gifts.  But Jehoram was Jehoshaphat’s firstborn son and he gave him the kingdom of Judah.  But when Jehoram had taken over his father’s kingdom and had secured his position, he killed all of his brothers...Jehoram was 32 when he became king and ruled in Jerusalem for 8 years.  He imitated Israel’s kings and married into the Ahab dynasty.  God considered him an evil man.  But despite that, because of his covenant with David, God was not yet ready to destroy the descendants of David...

Since Jehoram had abandoned God, the God of his ancestors, God was abandoning him...   He had brazenly led Jerusalem away from God, seducing the whole country.  One day he got a letter from Elijah the prophet stating that “Because you have not kept  to the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and Asa your grandfather,.. leading Judah and Jerusalem away from God....why you even killed your own brothers, all of them better men than you!--God is going to afflict your people, your wives, your sons, and everything you have with a terrible plague.  And you are going to come down with a terrible disease of the colon, painful and humiliating....after about two years he was totally incontinent and died writhing in pain...there were no tears shed when he died--it was good riddance!  They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.  

The people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, king...He was 22 years old when he became king, but reigned only one year in Jerusalem.  His mother was Athaliah, granddaughter of Omri....God also considered him evil, related by both marriage and sin to the Ahab clan....He...went with Joram, son of Ahab into war against Hazael king of Aram.  Joram was wounded and taken to Jezreel....Jehu, son of Nimshi, whom God had already authorized to destroy the dynasty of Ahab,...sent out a party looking for Ahaziah...They found him hiding in Samaria and hauled him back to Jehu.  And Jehu killed him...But there was no one left in Ahaziah’s family capable of ruling the kingdom.  When Athaliah, mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she took over.  She began massacring the entire royal family.  Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s son, Joash, and kidnapped him from among the sons slated for slaughter.  So Jehosheba, Ahaziah’s sister -- she was also the wife of Jehoiada the priest, saved Joash for the murderous Queen Athaliah.  He was there with her, hidden away for 6 years in the temple of God.  Athaliah, oblivious of his existence, ruled the country.

In the 7th year, the priest Jehoiada decided to make his move and worked out a strategy with certain influential officers in the army....These officials dispersed throughout Judah and called in the Levites from all the towns in Judah along with the heads of families.  They met in Jerusalem.  The gathering met in the Temple of God.  They made a covenant there in The Temple.  The priest showed them the young prince...then divided the priests and Levites into thirds prior to all the people gathering in the courtyards of the Temple...Then the priest brought the prince into view, crowned him, handed him the scroll of God’s covenant and made him king....Athaliah, hearing all the commotion, the people running around and praising the king, came to the Temple to see what was going on....Jehoiada the priest ordered the military officers, “Drag her outside -- and kill anyone who tries to follow her!” ...So they dragged her out to the palace’s horse corral and there they killed her.  

Jehoiada now made a covenant between himself and the king and the people: they were to be God’s special people...Jehoiada turned the care of God’s temple over to the priests and Levites, the way David had directed originally....Then he got everyone together...and escorted the king down from the Temple of God, through the Upper Gate, and placed him on the royal throne...

Revelation 17 - 
One of the Seven Angels who carried the 7 bowls came and invited me...In the Spirit he carried me out in the desert.  

I saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast...A riddle name was branded on her forehead:  GREAT BABYLON, MOTHER OF WHORES AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I could see that the woman was drunk, drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, drunk on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus...

It was God who put the idea in their heads to turn over their rule to the Beast until the words of God are completed.  The woman you saw is the great city, tyrannizing the kings of the earth.”   

December 23, 2016

Day 358 of 2016

Tomorrow begins the final week of 2016’s journey through the Bible.  

Listen closely for the final messages God wants to teach you through his Word.  

As you read, think back on the themes of change in your life.  

How will God’s parting words fit into the totality of what he’s taught you over the past few months. 

Please join us in our journey over the last 7 days of 2016.  Our daily blog can be found on WRC's website at:   https://wyckoffreformed.squarespace.com/son-rise-on-scripture…/  

(Synthesized from "The Message//Remix:Pause - A Daily Reading Bible")

December 22, 2016

Jehoshaphat kept his residence in Jerusalem but made a regular round of visits among the people...urging them to return to God, the God of their ancestors.  And he was diligent about appointing judges in the land...In Jerusalem, Jehoshaphat also appointed Levites, priests and family heads to decide on matters that had to do with worship and mediating local differences.  He charged them , “Do your work in the fear of God; be dependable and honest in your duties...Be bold and diligent.  And God be with you as you do your best.”

Some time later, the Moabites and Ammonites, accompanied by the Meunites, joined forces to make war on Jehoshaphat....Shaken, Jehoshaphat prayed.  He went to God for help and ordered a nationwide fast.  The country of Judah united in seeking God’s help--they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to God.  Then Jehoshaphat took a position before the assembled people of Judah and Jerusalem at the Temple of God in front of the new courtyard and prayed,...”O dear God, won’t you take care of your people?  We’re helpless before this vandal horde ready to attack us.  We don’t know what to do; we’re looking to you.  Everyone in Judah was there--little children, wives, sons --all present and attentive to God.  

Then Jahaziel was moved by the Spirit of God to speak from the midst of the congregation...”God’s word: Don’t be afraid: don’t pay any mind to this vandal horde.  This is God’s war, not yours...You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm and watch God’s saving work for you take shape.  Don’t be afraid, don’t waver...”.  Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground.  All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshipping God.  The Levites stood to their feet to praise God; they praised at the top of their lungs!  

Early the next morning, Jehoshaphat said, “Believe firmly in God, your God and your lives will be firm!  Believe in your prophets and you’ll come out on top!”  After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops singing, “Give thanks to God, His love never quits.  As soon as they started shouting and praising, God set ambushes against the enemy...As Judah came up over the rise, looking into the wilderness for the horde of barbarians, they looked on a killing field of dead bodies - not a living soul among them...It took three days to cart it away!  On the 4th day they came together at the Valley of Blessing (Beracah) and blessed God.  

Jehoshaphat continued the kind of life characteristic of his father Asa--no detours, no dead ends--pleasing God with his life.  But he failed to get rid of the neighborhood sex-and-religion shrines--people continued to pray and worship at these idolatrous god shops.

Revelations 16 -  
I heard a shout of command from the Temple to the seven Angels: “ Begin!  Pour out the 7 bowls of God’s wrath on the earth!”  
The first angel stepped up and poured his bowl out on Earth...
The second angel poured his bowl on the sea....
The third angel poured his bowl on the rivers and springs....
The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun...
The fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the Beast...
The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great Euphrates River --

From the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet I saw three foul demons crawl out--they looked like frogs...the frog demons gathered the kings together at the place called in Hebrew Armageddon... 

The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air.  
From the Throne in the Temple came a shout, Done!

December 21, 2016

2 Chronicles 17-18 - 
Asa’s son, Jehoshaphat, was the next king...God was on his side because he stuck to the ways of his father Asa’s early years---he was a seeker and follower of the god of his father and was obedient to him; he wasn’t like Israel....and everyone in Judah showed their appreciation by bringing gifts.  Jehoshaphat ended up very rich and much honored.  He was single minded in following God...

In the 3rd year of his reign, he sent his officials on a teaching mission to the cities of Judah...teaching the people and using the Book of the Revelations of God as their text.  There was a strong sense of the fear of God in all the kingdoms around Judah...So Jehoshaphat became stronger by the day, and constructed more and more forts and store-cities--an age of prosperity for Judah!

But even though Jehoshaphat was very rich and much honored, he made a marriage alliance with Ahab of Israel..But Ahab had a hidden agenda; he wanted Jehoshaphat’s support in attacking Ramoth Gilead.  Jehoshaphat said he would but before he would do anything, “ask God for guidance.”  Ahab got 400 of his prophets together and they indicated to “go for it.”  But Jehoshaphat dragged his feet, “Is there another prophet of God around here we can consult?  Let’s get a second opinion.”  Ahab indicated that there was an man named Micaiah but he hated him since he never preaches anything good to him.  As they waited, Zedekiah, again shouted out that God would be with them if they went to battle...The messenger who went to get Micaiah told him, “The prophets have all said Yes to the king.  Make it unanimous--vote Yes!”  But Micaiah said, “As sure as God lives, what God says, I’ll say.”  

Later, to the king, Micaiah told him to go ahead, “an easy victory!  God’s gift to the king.”  “Not so fast” was Ahab response and ordered Micaiah to tell all that he might have seen.  Micaiah added, “I saw all of Israel scattered over the hills, sheep with no shepherd.  Then God spoke, “These poor people have no one to tell them what to do.  Let them go home and do the best they can for themselves.”...And that’s what happened.  God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies.  God has pronounced your doom.”  Just them, Zedekiah came up and slapped Micaiah in the face saying, “Since when did the Spirit of God leave me and take up with you?”  Micaiah said, “You’ll know soon enough; you’ll know it when you’re frantically and futilely looking for a place to hide....”  

So the two kings went ahead and attacked Ramoth Gilead.  The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Wear my kingly robe; I’m going into battle disguised. Meanwhile, the king of Aram ordered his chariot commanders to only go after the king Of Israel.  When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they took after him.  Jehoshaphat yelled out and the commanders realized they had the wrong man...God intervened and they let him go.  Just then someone, without aiming, shot an arrow into the crowd and hit the king of Israel in the chink of his armor...He died that evening.

Revelations 15 - 
I saw another sign in Heaven...7 angels with seven disasters.  These were the final disasters, the wrap-up of God’s wrath....

Then I saw the doors of the Temple, the Tent of Witness in Heaven, open wide.  One of the 4 animals handed the 7 angels seven gold bowls, brimming with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.

December 20, 2016

2 Chronicles 15-16 - 
Then Azariah, moved by the Spirit of God, went out to meet Asa.  He said, Listen carefully Asa, and listen Judah and Benjamin:  God will stick with you as long as you stick with him.  If you look for him he will let himself be found, but if you leave him he’ll leave you...God let’s himself be found....”  

Asa heard the prophecy of Azariah...took a deep breath, then rolled up his sleeves, and went to work...many from Israel left their homes and joined forces with Asa when they saw that God was on his side.  They all arrived in Jerusalem in the 3rd month of the 15th year of Asa’s reign for a great assembly of worship...then bound themselves in a covenant to seek God, the God of their fathers, wholeheartedly, holding nothing back....

They shouted out their promise to God, a joyful sound accompanied with a blast from trumpets and rams horn.  The whole country felt good about the covenant promise--they had given their promise joyfully from the heart....In his cleanup of the country, Asa went so far as to remove his mother, Queen Maacah, from her throne because she had built a shockingly obscene image of the sex goddess Asherah...he was well-intentioned--his heart was in the right place‘ loyal to God.

But in the 36th year of Asa’s reign, Baasha, king of Israel, attacked...Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of God and the royal palace and sent it to Ben-Hadad, king of Aram in order to form an alliance with him...Just after that, Hanani, the seer came to Asa and said, “Because you went for help to the king of Aram and didn’t ask God for help, you’ve lost a victory over the army of the king of Aram...You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God’s help.  Now you’re in trouble - one round of war after another.”  At that, Asa lost his temper.  Angry, he put Hanani is the stocks.  At the same time, Asa started abusing some of the people.  

Revelations 14 -  
I saw--it took my breath away!---the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion.  144,000 standing with him...and then I heard music, harp music and the harpists singing a new song before the Throne...

Only the 144,000 could learn to sing the song...where ever the Lamb went, they followed.  They were bought from humankind, first fruits of the harvest for God and the Lamb.  Not a false word in their mouths.  A perfect offering!

I saw another Angel soaring in Middle-Heaven.  He had an eternal message to preach to all who were still on earth...He preached in a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him your glory!  His hour of judgment has come!  Worship the Maker of Heaven and earth, salt sea and fresh water!”   A second Angel followed,... then a third Angel followed, shouting, warning....Meanwhile, the saints stand passionately patient, keeping God’s commands, staying faithful to Jesus....

I heard a voice out of Heaven, “Write this: Blessed are those who die in the Master from now on; how blessed to die that way!”  “Yes, “ says the Spirit, “ and blessed rest from their hard, hard work.  None of what they’ve done is wasted; God blesses them for it all in the end.”

December 19, 2016

2 Chronicles 13 - 14
In the 18th year of King Jereboam’s rule, Abijah took over the throne of Judah...war broke out between the two kings.  Abijah took a high position on the battle field and gave this speech, 

“ Listen Jeroboam and all Israel!  Don’t you realize that God, the one and only God of Israel, established David and his sons as the permanent rulers of Israel, ratified by the ‘covenant of salt’ - God’s kingdom ruled by God’s king?  And what happened?  Jeroboam, the son of Solomon’s slave Nebat, rebelled against his master....  

All the riffraf joined Jeroboam’s cause and were too much for Reheboam, Solomon’s true heir.  Rehoboam didn’t know his way around--besides he was a real wimp; he couldn’t stand up against them...

You think you’re so big with your huge army backed up by the golden-calf idols that Jeroboam made for you as gods!  But just look at what you’ve done--you threw out the priests of God, the sons of Aaron and the Levites and made priests to suit yourselves, priests just like the pagans have...but the rest of us in Judah, we’re sticking with God.  We have not traded him in for the latest model--we’re keeping tried and true priests of Aaron to lead us to God and the Levites to lead us in worship...We continue doing what God told us to do in the way he told us to do it;  but you have rid yourselves of Him.  Can’t you see the obvious?  God is on our side;  he’s our leader...O Israel, don’t fight against God, the God of your ancestors.  You will not win this battle.”

While Abijah was speaking, Jeroboam had sent men around to take them by surprise from the rear...When Judah looked back, they saw they were attacked front and back.  They prayed desperately to God, the priests blew their trumpets, and the soldiers shouted a battle cry.  At the battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah..Jeroboam never did recover from his defeat while Abijah lived...Meanwhile Abijah flourished....

Abijah’s son, Asa, became the next king.  For 10 years into Asa’s reign the country was at peace.  Asa was a good king.. He told Judah to center their lives in God, the God of their fathers, to do what the law said, and to follow the commandments. ...Because the land was quiet and there was not war, he was able to build up a good defense system in Judah.  God kept the peace.  Asa said to his people, “While we have the chance and the land is quiet, let’s build a solid defense system.”

Zerah the Ethiopian, went to war against Asa with an army of a million plus 300 chariots against the 580,000 men under Asa...  Then Asa prayed to God, “O God, you aren’t impressed by numbers or intimidated by a show of force once you decide to help:  Help us, O God; because we have come out to meet this huge army because we trust in you and who you are.  Don’t let mere mortals stand against you!”  God defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah; the Ethiopians ran for their lives.  

Revelations 13 - 
And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea.  

Then the Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws  and a lion’s mouth.  The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority....The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast.  They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority and they worshiped the Beast... The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous.  It could do anything it wanted for 42 months...Meanwhile God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.

I saw another beast rising out of the ground.  It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke.  It was a puppet of the first Beast.  This second beast worked magical signs...it forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead....Solve a riddle.  Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast.  It’s human number: 666.

December 18, 2016

2 Chronicles 10-12 - 
Rehoboam traveled to Shechem where all Israel had gathered to inaugurate him as king.  Jeroboam was then in Egypt, where he had taken asylum from King Solomon; when he got word of Solomon’s death, he came back...Jeroboam and all of Israel went to Rehoboam and said, “You’re father made life hard on us...give us a break; lighten up on us and we will willingly serve you.”  “Give me three days to think it over,” said Rehoboam, “then come back.”  

King Rehoboam talked it over with the elders who advised his father...They said, “If you will be a servant to  this people , be considerate of their needs and respond with compassion, work things out with them, they’ll end up doing everything for you.”  But he rejected the counsel of the elders and asked the young men he’d grown up with who were now currying his favor...  The young turks he’d grown up with said, “...tell them this, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist.  If you think life under my father was hard, you haven’t seen the half of it...”

Three days later, the king’s answer to his people was harsh and rude.  He spurned the counsel of the elders and went with the advice of the younger set...he turned a deaf ear to the people.  God was behind this, confirming the message that he had given Jeroboam through Ahijah of Shiloh.  When all Israel realized that the king hadn’t listened to a word they’d said, they rejected Rehoboam and left so that he continued to rule only those who lived in the towns of Judah...Israel has been in rebellion against the Davidic dynasty ever since.  

When Rehoboam got back to Jerusalem he called up the men of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to war against Israel and recover the kingdom.  At the same time the word of God came as Shemaiah, a holy man which stated, “Don’t march out; don’t fight against your brothers the Israelites.  go back home, every last one of you; I’m in charge here” And they did it; they did what God said and went home.

The priests and Levites from all over Israel came and made themselves available to Rehoboam....because Jeroboam and his sons had dismissed them from the priesthood of God and replaced them with his own priests to preside over the worship centers at which he had installed goat and calf demon-idols.  Everyone from all the tribes of Israel who determined to seek the God of Israel migrated with the priests and Levites to Jerusalem to worship there...That gave a tremendous boost to the kingdom of Judah.  They stuck with Rehoboam for three years, loyal to the ways of David and Solomon for this period.

Rehoboam married Mahalath, daughter of David’s son, Jerimoth, and Abihail, daughter of Jesse’s son, Eliab.  Then he married Maacah, Absalom’s daughter...Maacah was Rehoboam’s favorite wife; he loved her more than all his other wives and concubines put together (18 wives & 60 concubines = 28 sons and 60 daughters).  Rehoboam designated Abijah, son of Maachah as the “first son” and leader of the brothers - he intended to make him the next king.  He was shrewd in deploying his sons in all the cities that made up his defensed ...he kept them happy with much food and many wives....By the time Rehoboam had secured his kingdom and was strong again, he and all of Israel with him, had virtually abandoned God and his ways.

In the 5th year of Rehoboam’s reign, because he and the people were unfaithful to God, Shishak king of Egypt invaded as far as Jerusalem...

Then the prophet Shemaiah accompanied by the leaders of Judah came to Rehoboam and said, “God’s word:  You abandoned me now I abandon you to Shishak.”  The leaders and Rehoboam were repentant and said, “God is right.”  When God saw that they were humbly repentant, the word of God came to Shemaiah: “Because they are humble, I’ll not destroy them...What I will do, though, is make them Shishak’s subjects -- they will learn the difference between serving me and serving human kings.”  Then Shishak attacked Jerusalem and plundered the treasury of the Temple and the royal palace...Because Rehoboam was repentant, God’s anger was blunted, so he wasn’t totally destroyed.  

The picture wasn’t entirely bleak--there were some good things going on in Judah.  King Rehoboam regrouped and reestablished his rule...but the final verdict on Rehoboam was that he was a bad king--God was not important to him;  his heart neither cared for nor sought after God. ...There were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam the whole time...Rehoboam’s son Abijah ruled after him. 

Revelations 12 - 
A great sign appeared in Heaven:  
A woman dressed all in sunlight, standing on the moon, and crowned with 12 stars.  She was giving birth to a Child and cried out in the pain of childbirth.  And then another sign along with the first: a huge and fiery Dragon!  It had seven heads and ten horns, a crown on each of the seven heads.  The dragon crouched before the woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came.  The woman gave birth to a Son who will shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.  Her Son was seized and placed safely before God on his Throne.  The Woman herself escaped to the desert to a place of safety prepared by God, all comforts provided her for 1,260 days.

War broke out in Heaven.  Michael and his angels fought the Dragon...The great Dragon---ancient serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray - thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth... 

When the Dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he went after the Woman who had given birth to the Man-Child.  The Woman was given wings of a great eagle to fly to a place in the desert to be kept in  safety...

Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.

December 17, 2016

2 Chronicles 7:11-9:31 - 
God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “ I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple of sacrifice, a house of worship...

My God-defined people, respond by:
humbling themselves, 
praying, 
seeking my presence and
turning their backs on their wicked lives....

As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel--make it a sure thing on a sure foundation....You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.‘  “But if you or your sons betray me, ignoring my guidance and judgments, taking up with alien gods by serving and worshiping them, then the guarantee is off...

Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter from the city of David to a house built especially for her.  “Because” he said,”my wife cannot live in the house of David king of Israel, for the areas in which the Chest of God has entered are sacred.”... He followed the practice of his father David in setting up groups of priests carrying out the work of worship, with the Levites assigned to lead the sacred music  for praising God and to assist the priests in daily worship.

The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s reputation and came to Jerusalem to put his reputation to the test, asking all the tough questions...When the queen experienced for herself Solomon’s wisdom and saw with her own eyes the places he had built...it all took her breath away....Such wisdom and elegance - far more than I could ever have imagined.... And blessed be your God who has taken such a liking to you, making you king.  Clearly God’s love for Israel is behind this, making you king to keep a just order and nurture a God-pleasing people....King Solomon, for his part, gave the queen of Sheba all her heart’s desire---everything she asked for.  She took away more than she brought.

Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for 40 years.  Solomon died and was buried in the City of David his father.  His son Rehoboam was the next king.

Revelations 11 - 
Meanwhile, I’ll provide my two Witnesses.  Dressed in sackcloth, they’ll prophesy for 1,260 days.  These are the two OliveTrees , the two Lamp stands, standing at attention before God on earth...When they’ve completed their witness, the Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer and kill them...for three and a half days the witnesses’ bodies will be there--exposed, prevented from getting a decent burial, stared at by the curious from all over the world.  Those people will cheer at the spectacle, shouting “Good riddance!” and calling for a celebration, for these two prophets pricked the conscience of all the people on earth, made it impossible for them to enjoy their sins.  Then after this time, the Living Spirit of God will enter them--they’re on their feet--and all those gloating spectators will be scared to death.”...The second doom is past, the third doom coming right on its heels.

The 7th angel trumpeted.  A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out....The 24 Elders seated before God on their thrones fell to their knees, worshiped and sang...The doors of God’s temple in Heaven flew open and the Ark of his Covenant was clearly surrounded by flashes of lightning, loud shouts, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a fierce hailstorm.

December 16, 2016

Day 351 of 2016

Your reading over the past week took you to polar extremes.  The Old Testament readings looked back on ancient Israel’s golden Age...The New Testament readings looked ahead to the earth’s darkest hour....

What lessons did God teach you as you read these opposites?……

Please join us in our journey over the next 7 days.  Our daily blog can be found on WRC's website at:   https://wyckoffreformed.squarespace.com/son-rise-on-scripture…/  

(Synthesized from "The Message//Remix:Pause - A Daily Reading Bible")

December 15, 2016

2 Chronicles 4:1 - 7:10 - 
Huram made the Bronze Altar 30 ft. long, 30 ft. wide and 10 ft. high then he made a Sea - an immense round basin - 15 ft in diameter, 7.5 ft. high and 45 ft in circumference.  He made 10 washbasins, 10 gold lamp stands, 10 tables (5 rt., 5 .lt.)...

Bringing this to a climax, Solomon got all the leaders together in Jerusalem...All the men of Israel assembled before the king on the feast day of the 7th month, the Feast of Booths.  When all the leaders were ready, the Levites carried the chest and all the sacred things in the Tent used to worship and brought it to its place in the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies....There was nothing in the Chest itself but the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb where God made a covenant with Israel after bringing them up from Egypt...The choir and trumpets (120) made one voice of praise and thanks to God - orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God: Yes! God is Good!  His loyal love goes on forever!....

Solomon turned his face to the congregation that had come together and blessed them:  “Blessed be God, the God of Israel, who spoke personally to my father David.  Now he has done what he promised when he said, ‘From the day I brought my people out of Egypt, I haven’t set apart one city among the tribes of Israel in which to build a temple to honor my name, or chosen one person as leader.  But now I have chosen both a city and a person:  Jerusalem for honoring my name and David to lead my people Israel.’... And now you see the promise completed...Then he knelt in full view of the whole congregation , stretched his hands to heaven and prayed: (see prayer on page 1637-1638 of The Message-Remix).

When Solomon finished praying, a bolt of lightning out of heaven struck the offering and the Glory of God filled the Temple...The people fell on their knees, bowed their heads and worshipped, thanking God then dismissed them on 7/23.  They left rejoicing, exuberant over all the good God had done for David, Solomon & his people Israel. 
 
Revelations 10 - 
I saw another powerful angel coming down from heaven wrapped in a cloud.  There was a rainbow over his head, his face was radiant, his legs pillars of fire.  He had a small book open in his hand... When he called out, the Seven Thunders called back...Then the angel lifted his right hand to heaven and swore by the One Living God... that when the 7th Angel blew his trumpet, which he was about to do, the Mystery of God. all the plans he revealed to his servants, the prophets, would be completed.

The voice out of Heaven spoke to me again; “Go, take the book held open in the hand of the Angel astride sea and earth.”  I went up to the angel and said, “Give me the book.”  He said, “Take it, then eat it.  It will taste sweet like honey , but turn sour in your stomach.”  I took the book from the angel’s hand and it was sweet honey in my mouth, but when I swallowed, my stomach curdled.  Then I was told, “You must go back and prophesy again over many people and nations and languages and kings.” 

December 14, 2016

2 Chronicles 1-3 -  
Solomon took a firm reign of his kingdom.  God was with him and gave him much help.  Solomon addressed all of Israel...then he and the entire company went to the worship center at Gibeon to where the Tent of Meeting God was (used since the days of Moses) and that is were Solomon and the congregation gathered to pray.

That night God appeared to Solomon.  God said, “What do you want from me?  Ask?   

Solomon answered, “...Establish, God, the words you spoke to my father, for you’ve given me a staggering task, ruling this mob of people.  Yes, give me wisdom and knowledge as I come and go among this people, for who on his own is capable of leading these, your glorious people?”  

God answered Solomon, “This is what has come out of your heart:  You didn’t grasp for money, wealth, fame, and the doom of your enemies;  you didn’t even ask for  a long life.  You asked for wisdom and knowledge so you could govern well my people over whom I’ve made you king.  Because of this, you get what you asked for - wisdom and knowledge.  And I’m presenting you the rest as a bonus--money, wealth, and fame beyond anything the kings before or after you will have.”

Solomon left Gibeon and returned to Jerusalem.  He gave orders to begin construction on the house of worship in honor of God and a palace for himself.  Solomon assigned 70,000 common laborers, 80,000 to work the quarries and 3,600 to manage the workforce (1st successful jobs bill).  He sent a message to the King of Tyre requesting logs and explaining “The house I am building has to be the best, for our God is the best, far better than competing gods.  But who is capable of building such a structure?....Send me a master artisan”...The King of Tyre replied, “It is plain that God loves his people-he made you king over them..I’ve sent you Huram-Abi- he knows construction inside and out.

So Solomon broke ground, launched construction of the house of God in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, the place where God had appeared to his father David.  The precise site, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, had been designated by David.

Revelation 9 -  
The fifth Angel trumpeted.  I saw a Star plummet from Heaven to earth.  The star was handed a key to the well of the abyss.  He unlocked the well and smoke poured out...then out of the smoke came locusts with the venom of scorpions that were given orders to only hurt men and women, and only then those who lack the seal of God on their foreheads.  They were ordered to torture, not kill for 5 months.

The sixth Angel trumpeted and a voice spoke to this angel to “let the four angels loose”  The four angels were untied and let loose--all prepared for the exact year, month, day and even hour when they were to kill a third of the human race...the remaining men and women went on their merry way--didn’t change their way of life.  There wasn’t a sign of change of heart.

December 13, 2016

I Chronicles 27-29 - 
Here is the listing of the sons of Israel by family heads, commanders and captains, and other officers who served the king in everything military.  Army divisions were on duty a month at a time for twelve months of a year.  Each division comprised 24,000 men...  David also chose an administrator of the affairs of each tribe including his brother Elihu for the tribe of Judah....David didn’t keep count of men under the age of 20 because God had promised to give Israel a population as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Joab started out counting the men, but he never finished.  God’s anger broke out on Israel because of the counting.  The king’s storage facilities were also assigned to a handful of leaders who’s responsibility was for taking care of King David’s property.

Jonathan, David’s uncle, a wise and literate counselor, and Jehiel were responsible for rearing the king’s sons.  Ahithophel was the king’s counselor; Hushai was the king’s friend.  Ahithophel was later replaced by Jehoiada and Abiaathar.  Joab remained commander of the king’s army.

David called together all the leaders of Israel and stated,”God chose me out of my family to be king over Israel forever.  First he chose Judah as the lead tribe, then he narrowed it down to my family, and finally he picked me from my father’s sons, pleased to make me king over all Israel.  And then from my sons- and God gave me many- he chose my son Solomon to sit on the throne of God’s rule over Israel...I will guarantee that his kingdom will last if he continues to be as strong-minded in doing what I command and carrying out my decisions as he is doing now.”...”And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind for God examines every heart and sees every motive.  If you seek him, he’ll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he’ll leave you for good.”

Then David presented his son Solomon with the plans for the Temple complex...He turned over the plans for everything that God’s Spirit had brought to his mind and informed his son, “Here are the blueprints for the whole project as God gave me to understand it....Take charge!  Take heart!  Don;t be anxious or get discouraged.  God, my God, is with you in this;  he won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch.  He’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God....  

Then David addressed the congregation, “My son Solomon was singled out and chosen by God to do this.  But he is young and untested and the work is huge--this is not just a place for people  to meet each other, but a house for God to meet us...Furthermore, because my heart is in this, in addition to and beyond what I have gathered, I’m turning over my personal fortune of gold and silver for making this place of worship for my God...”And how about you?  Who among you is reading and willing to join in the giving?”  Ready and willing, the heads of families, leaders of the tribes of Israel, commanders and captains in the army, stewards of the king’s affairs stepped forward and gave willingly....and the people were full of a sense of celebration---all that giving and all given willingly, freely!  King David was exuberant.  David blessed God in full view of the entire congregation.....and here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you, praising your splendid Name.”

“But me--who am I, and who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you?  Everything comes from you;  all we are doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand...  As far as you’re concerned, we’re homeless, shiftless wanderers like our ancestors, our lives mere shadows, hardly anything to us...I know God, that you care nothing for the surface--you want us, our true selves---and so I have given from the heart, honestly and happily.  And now see these people doing the same, giving freely, willingly--what a joy!”  

“O God, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this generous spirit alive forever in these people always, keep their hearts firmly set on you.  And give my son Solomon an uncluttered and focused heart so he can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with building the Temple

All the leaders of the people of Israel, including the sons of King David, accepted Solomon as their king and promised their loyalty.  Solomon rode high on a crest of popular acclaim-- it was all God’s doing...” 

Revelations 8 - 
When the Lamb ripped off the seventh seal, Heaven fell quiet---complete silence for about half an hour.  

I saw the 7 angels who always in readiness before God handed 7 trumpets....
At the first trumpet blast, hail and fire mixed with blood were dumped on the earth.  A third of the earth was scorched.  

The second angel trumpeted.  Something like a huge mountain blazing with fire was flung into the sea.  A third of the sea turned to blood....

The third Angel trumpeted.  A huge start, blazing like a torch, fell in heaven, wiping out a third of the rivers and a third of the springs.  The star’s name was Wormwood.  A third of the water turned bitter and many people died. 

The fourth Angel trumpeted.  A third of the sun, a third of the moon and a third of the stars were hit, blacked out by a third

I heard a lone eagle, flying through mid heaven, crying out ominously, “Doom, doom! Doom to everyone left on earth!  There are three more Angels about to blow their trumpets.  Doom is on the way!

December 12, 2016

I Chronicles 23-26 -  
When David got to be an old man, he made his son, Solomon king over Israel.  At the same time he brought together the leaders of Israel, the priests and the Levites.
  
David then divided the Levites into groupings named after the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari....From now on the assigned work of the Levites was to assist Aaron’s sons in the work of worship in God’s house.  
The family of Aaron was grouped as follows as his sons Eleazar and Ithamar filled the office of priests.  It turned out that there were more leaders from Eleazar’s family than in Ithamar’s so they divided them proportionately: 16 clan leaders from Eleazar’s family and 8 clan leaders from Ithamar’s family.

Next David and the worship leaders selected some from the family of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun for special service in preaching and music.  The teams of security guards were from the family of Korah...Other Levites were put in charge of the financial affairs of the Temple of God.

Revelations 7 - 
Immediately, I saw 4 Angels standing at the four corners of the earth, standing steady with a grip on the four winds so no wind would blow on the earth or sea, not even rustle a tree.  

Then I saw another Angel rising from where the sun rose, carrying the seal of the Living God.  He thundered to the 4 angels ...”Don’t hurt the earth!...until I’ve sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads!”  I heard the count of those who were sealed, 144,000....I looked again.  I saw a huge crowd, too large to count.  Everyone was there...And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing....All who were standing around the Throne--Angels, Elders, Animals--fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God singing... 

Then an Elder told me, “These are those who come from the great tribulation, and they’ve washed their robes, scrubbed them clean in the blood of the Lamb.  That’s why they are standing before God’s Throne.  They serve him day and night in his Temple.  The One on the Throne will pitch his tent there for them: no more hunger, no more thirst, no more scorching heat.  The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them, will lead them to spring waters of Life.  And God will wipe every last tear from their eyes.”