Daily Devotion for August 28, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Dottie Rambo did not have much voice left when this was recorded (a few years before her death in 2008), but it is a special to hear her sing one of the 2,500 songs she wrote.
The holy hills of heaven call me
to mansions bright across the sea,
where loved ones wait and crowns are given,
the hills of home keep calling me.
This house of flesh is but a prison
bars of bone hold my soul,
but the doors of clay are gonna burst wide open
when the angels set my spirit free,
I’ll take my flight like the mighty eagle
when the hill of home start calling me.
I see loved ones over yonder,
tears are gone and hearts are free,
and from the throne my Savior beckons,
and the hills of home keep calling me.
Music and Lyrics by Dottie Rambo.
Prayer for Morning
Oh Lord, when it is still dark outside and I am half asleep
My prayers they slip and slide; I know my talk is cheap
For I am ever wandering; but I can hear you beckoning.
So every morning you can find me in this place
And I will be waiting; how I long to see your face
And I want to walk the deeper walk with you.
For Guidance in Bringing Others to Christ
Oh Heavenly Father, who has promised to send us a Spirit to lead us, if we but listen and hear his presence in the bustle of life, I pray for your direction and guidance in becoming a disciple of your word. Teach me to spread your truth, to anyone I might see who might be able to hear it. Let me always reach out and show your love to the world through my every action. I pray, Holy Spirit, show me your path in this wayward world. Mold me by the model of your Son, and let me every day approach nearer to his perfect service. Let me, too, be a fisher of men. Show me how; teach me to help guide others to you, both in my words and in my deeds. In the name of Christ, I pray,
[Grant me the peace to weather all storms.]
May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.
~ C. S. Lewis
2 Kings 21:1-15 (excerpts) (ESV)
Israel after Solomon (23): Manasseh and the Kings
Manasseh reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers.
And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.
And the Lord said by his servants the prophets, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore says the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.
And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.”
Notes on the Scripture
There were 15 kings of Judah, from David who united the kingdom around 1000 B.C., to Hezekiah, who saved the little remnant of Judah from the mighty army of the Assyrian army after it had obliterated the Northern Kingdom, in 700 B.C. (See Tuesday's Devotion.) There would be seven more; like their predecessors, they spanned a wide array of righteousness. Throughout the reigns of these 22 kings, Judah seems to have been on a roller coaster between devotion to God and total idolatry.
There was no sharper contrast than the holiness of Hezekiah, which saved Judah from the fate of the Kingdom of Israel, and his son Manasseh, who plunged Judah back into absolute idolatry, building altars to false gods within the very Temple itself and sacrificing his son by burning him alive (most likely to the hideous Ba'al Moloch, a statue built as a great oven wherein infants might be immolated).
At this point, the fate of Judah appears to be sealed. We will bypass the histories of all of the intermediate kings, although we might see a few of their names in connection with the prophets.
Manasseh's enormous evil occasioned the rise of the latter prophets, who vehemently protested the apostasy of Judah, criticized the kings, and wrote and preached dire prophecies of the consequences. These seem long and repetitive in retrospect — Isaiah alone is 66 chapters — but we must remember that the period lasted 140 years. If we look at the book of Isaiah as representing two or three words for every day of his adult life, it does not seem long-winded at all.
The great prophets of the era were Isaiah, at the very beginning, and Jeremiah, at the very end. We will also look at the lives of three wonderful “minor” prophets: Micah, Zephaniah, and Habakkuk. (See chart.)
There were two aspects to the prophecy in Judah. First, of course, there was enormous antagonism between the prophets and the idolatrous kings because most of the prophecy not only predicted the destruction of the Jewish state, but also held the kings responsible for it. The prophecy that survives in our Bible is only a scrap, a sampling, for these kings naturally sought to kill the prophets and destroy their writings.
More important to us in a theological sense, however, is the second aspect of their prophecy: During this period, predictions of a messiah who would come to redeem the Hebrew people (and the world) begin to appear more frequently.