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.