May 12, 2015

 II Kings 10-11
Ahab had seventy sons still living in Samaria. Jehu wrote letters addressed to the officers of Jezreel, the city elders, and those in charge of Ahab’s sons, and posted them to Samaria.... The king’s sons numbered seventy. The leaders of the city had taken responsibility for them. When they got the letter, they took the king’s sons and killed all seventy. Then they put the heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel....Then Jehu proceeded to kill everyone who had anything to do with Ahab’s family in Jezreel—leaders, friends, priests. He wiped out the entire lot....

 Next, Jehu got all the people together and addressed them:  Ahab served Baal small-time;  Jehu will serve him big-time. “Get all the prophets of Baal here—everyone who served him, all his priests. Get everyone here; don’t leave anyone out. I have a great sacrifice to offer Baal. If you don’t show up, you won’t live to tell about it.” (Jehu was lying, of course. He planned to destroy all the worshipers of Baal.)... They came and packed the temple of Baal to capacity.... Meanwhile, Jehu had stationed eighty men outside with orders: “Don’t let a single person escape; if you do, it’s your life for his life.”...

But for all that, Jehu didn’t turn back from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, the sins that had dragged Israel into a life of sin—the golden calves in Bethel and Dan stayed.  God commended Jehu: “You did well to do what I saw was best. You did what I ordered against the family of Ahab. As reward, your sons will occupy the throne of Israel for four generations.”

Even then, though, Jehu wasn’t careful to walk in God’s ways and honor the God of Israel from an undivided heart. He didn’t turn back from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin....

Athaliah was the mother of Ahaziah. When she saw that her son was dead, she took over. She began by massacring the entire royal family. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, took Ahaziah’s son Joash and kidnapped him from among the king’s sons slated for slaughter. She hid him and his nurse in a private room away from Athaliah. He didn’t get killed. He was there with her, hidden away for six years in The Temple of God. Athaliah, oblivious to his existence, ruled the country.

In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the captains of the bodyguards and the Palace Security Force. They met him in The Temple of God. He made a covenant with them, swore them to secrecy, and only then showed them the young prince.

Then he commanded them, “These are your instructions: Those of you who come on duty on the Sabbath and guard the palace, and those of you who go off duty on the Sabbath and guard The Temple of God, are to join forces at the time of the changing of the guard and form a ring around the young king, weapons at the ready. Kill anyone who tries to break through your ranks. Your job is to stay with the king at all times and places, coming and going.”...

Then the priest brought the prince into view, crowned him, handed him the scroll of God’s covenant, and made him king. As they anointed him, everyone applauded and shouted, “Long live the king!” Athaliah heard the shouting of guards and people and came to the crowd gathered at The Temple of God. Astonished, she saw the king standing beside the throne, flanked by the captains and heralds, with everybody beside themselves with joy, trumpets blaring. Athaliah ripped her robes in dismay and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”  Jehoiada the priest ordered the military officers, “Drag her outside and kill anyone who tries to follow her!” (The priest had said, “Don’t kill her inside The Temple of God.”) So they dragged her out to the palace’s horse corral; there they killed her.

Jehoiada now made a covenant between God and the king and the people: They were God’s people. Another covenant was made between the king and the people. The people poured into the temple of Baal and tore it down, smashing altar and images to smithereens... Jehoiada then stationed sentries in The Temple of God. He arranged for the officers of the bodyguard and the palace security, along with the people themselves, to escort the king down from The Temple of God through the Gate of the Guards and into the palace. There he sat on the royal throne. Everybody celebrated the event. And the city was safe and undisturbed—they had killed Athaliah with the royal sword.  Joash was seven years old when he became king.

II Corinthians 13 - Remember the Scripture that says, “A matter becomes clear after two or three witnesses give evidence”?...

Now, preparing for my third visit, I am saying it again from a  distance.  If you haven’t changed your ways by the time I get there, look out....You’ll get the full force of Christ, don’t think you won’t.  He was sheer weakness and humiliation when he was killed on the cross, but oh, he is alive now--in the mighty power of God!

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith.  Don’t drift along taking everything for granted.  Give yourselves regular checkups.  You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus is in you.  Test it out.  If you fail the test, do something about it.  I hope the test won’t show that we have failed.  But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test show our failure than yours.

We don’t just put up with our limitations;  we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you.  We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives....The authority the Master gave me is for putting people together, not taking them apart....

And that is about it friends.  Be cheerful.  Keep things in good repair.  Keep your spirits up.  Think in harmony.  Be agreeable.  Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.  Greet one another with a holy embrace.  All the brothers and sisters here say hello.  

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ,
the extravagant love of God, 
the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, 
be with all of you.