|A QUICK LOOK BACK|
The prophets have warned, threatened, and shouted to the rooftops: destruction is coming. Repent and return to God before it is too late! This week, the destruction finally, and tragically, arrives!
THE ROAD AHEAD
The reigns of kings in Israel and Judah continue, bringing more suffering, sin, and
danger to God’s people. The prophet Micah denounces social injustices of every kind with those now famous words: “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice,
love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” For the northern kingdom of Israel,
the footsteps of Assyria grow louder and are replaced by the drumbeats of war.
Assyria loses patience with Israel and destroys it. Its people are deported to other
places throughout the Assyrian Empire and strange new foreigners are brought in to
replace them. As Assyria’s empire grew, taking in more and more territory, they
needed a strategy to keep those conquered from rising up in rebellion. They chose
relocation. If people were scattered far from their ancestral homes they were less
likely to mount a serious rebellion. As Israel’s people went into exile, new faces settled the land from foreign lands bringing with them foreign customs and gods as well.
Things were never quite the same in Judah either. The prophets’ words of impending doom seemed much more real to the people of Judah now that they had seen it
happen to their neighbors to the north.
After all the evil kings to ever sit on the throne, finally we meet one who truly takes
the prophets’ words to heart. Micah’s famous words describe the reign of King
Hezekiah of Judah beautifully as he works for justice, loves kindness, and teaches
Judah to once again walk humbly before God. There is a great revival let loose as
Hezekiah commands the destruction of idols, and foreign altars. The temple in
Jerusalem is once again cleaned out and the ancient customs and teaching of Moses are reintroduced. Passover, the great celebration of God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt, is observed for the first time in generations. Assyria is not far away, and
Hezekiah is not a perfect king, but his revival is a breath of fresh air to us and to God.
Keep reading, and I’ll see you in the Bible!
WEEK 27 Reading Schedule:
Jul 2 Jonah Jonah Sent to Nineveh
Jul 3 2 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 26 Azariah, Jotham of Judah, Coups in Israel
Jul 4 Isaiah 1-4, Psalm 43 Oracles in the time of King Uzziah of Judah
Jul 5 Isaiah 5-8, Psalm 44 Song of the Unfruitful Vineyard, Injustice
Jul 6 Amos 1-5, Psalm 45 Condemnation of Israel and Her Neighbors
Jul 7 Amos 6-9, Psalm 127 Warning, Destruction and Restoration
Jul 8 2 Chronicles 27; Isaiah 9-12 Jotham of Judah, Visions of Ideal Kingdom