Bad or good….in the eyes of the Lord?

27 09 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-EIGHT : 2 Kings 14 v. 23 – 15 v. 38; Acts 25 v. 23 – 26 v. 23; Proverbs 16 v. 18 – 27

good or bad in the eyes of the Lord ?

2 KINGS
Jeroboam II King of Israel – bad king of Israel, reigning 41 years, continuing the evil his forefathers had been guilty of; however, God saw the plight and suffering of the Israelites, and under Jeroboam, extended their boundaries, and saved them from their enemies. He recovered Damascus and Hamath which had been taken by Yaudi. Read more about Jeroboam in the annals of the kings of Israel…he is succeeded by his son, Zechariah.

Azariah King of Judah – became king of Judah when he was just 16 years old and reigned for 52 years. (His mum is named – Jecoliah, from Jerusalem). A good king, doing right in the eyes of God, although the ‘high places’ remained where people offered sacrifices. Azariah had leprosy throughout his life, and lived apart from others, whilst his son, Jotham looked after the palace and governed the people. Read more about Azariah in the annals of the kings of Judah…he is succeeded by his son, Jotham.

Zechariah King of Israel – another bad king of Israel (‘doing evil in the eyes of the Lord’), only reigning for six months. He is conspired against by Shallum, and is assassinated. It is a fulfilment of a prophetic word generations before to Jehu, that his family line would rule for just four generations.
Read more about Zechariah (though there can’t be much to read for just six months!) in the annals of the kings of Israel.

Shallum King of Israel – Shallum only reigns for one month !! He is attacked by Menahem, is assassinated and succeeded by him. Menahem sounds like a thug…’he attacked Tiphsah….because they refused to open their gates…and ripped open all the pregnant women’. Read more of Shallum (just one month’s rule?) in the annals of the kings of Israel.

Menahem King of Israel – he is a bad king ! He rules for ten years. Israel is invaded by king Pul of Assyria. Menahem gives him 1,000 silver talents ‘to gain his support and strengthen his hold on the kingdom’. This money is taken from the wealthy people of Israel. King Pul agrees to withdraw. Read more about Menahem in the annals of the kings of Israel.

Pekahiah King of Israel – succeeds his father, Menahem, as king, reigning for two years. A bad king (in God’s eyes). His chief officer, Pekah, conspires against him and ambushes him with 50 men from Gilead, assassinating him in the citadel of the royal palace at Samaria. Read more about Pekahiah in the annals of the kings of Israel.

Pekah King of Israel – Pekah then reigns for 20 years. A bad king in God’s eyes. King Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria attacks and takes several cities, including Kedesh and Hazor, Gilead and Galilee, deporting people to Assyria. Hoshea conspires against king Pekah and assassinates him, succeeding Pekah as king. Read more about Pekah in the annals of the kings of Israel.

Jotham King of Judah – as Pekah is enjoying his second year as king of Israel, Jotham becomes king in Judah, at the age of 25. He rules for 16 years. (Mum is named as Jerusha, daughter of Zadok). A good king in God’s eyes, although the ‘high places’ remain where people offer sacrifices. Jotham rebuilds Jerusalem’s temple Upper Gate. Read more about Jotham in the annals of the kings of Judah. Trouble stirs with both king Pekah of Israel, and king Rezin of Aram. Jotham is buried in the City of David and is succeeded by his son, Ahaz.

pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones

ACTS
Paul Before Agrippa – Paul gets his chance the next day before Agrippa and Bernice, who enter the audience room with great pomp. All the important people are there ! Festus orders Paul to be brought in. Festus introduces Paul as the man whom the whole Jewish community has petitioned him about, seeking his death. Festus has found nothing wrong in him to deserve death, and is asking king Agrippa to help him formulate a charge to send with Paul to the emperor (Paul has requested his case be heard by the Emperor). King Agrippa gives Paul permission to speak…..
Paul asks for King Agrippa’s patience in listening to his case, and says he’s aware that Agrippa is ‘well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies‘. Paul states his case noting :
– his upbringing, within Judaism, in Jerusalem and elsewhere, as a strict Pharisee
‘it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today’
– his opposition to Jesus of Nazareth (‘I put many of the saints in prison’, and voted for their executions)
‘in my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them’
– his Damascus road experience, about noon, the bright light blinding him, the voice ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
– the voice identifies Himself as ‘Jesus, whom you are persecuting’ (note…to persecute the church / christians, is to persecute Jesus Himself)
– he is called and appointed as a servant and witness for Jesus, who says: ‘I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles’
– his calling is to the Gentiles, to bring them into the light (from darkness to light, from Satan to God)
– his obedience is to the heavenly vision he received – to those in Damascus, then Jerusalem, and throughout Judea
‘I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds’
– he claims the authority of the prophets and Moses,‘that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to His own people and to the Gentiles’.

PROVERBS
pride goes before destruction – a haughty spirit before a fall
better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud
blessed is he who trusts in the Lord
understanding is a fountain of life
a wise man’s heart guides his mouth
pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones

Imagine…(thoughts on whole-life discipleship)
(i) the kings of Israel and Judah are judged as either good or bad ‘in the eyes of the Lord’ – this seems to have a lot to do with their whole-life worship and discipleship, and whether or not they led their people well (including in worship, including rebuilding temple walls).
Lord God, by Your Spirit, enable my life to be good today in your eyes. May my deeds not sadden you, may my heart be inclined towards you in every moment. AMEN.

(ii) I was touched that king Azariah of Judah reigned for 52 years, despite having leprosy, and needing to be separated from others; although his son looked after much of the work, it is inspiring that one so afflicted could have such a long reign (compared to the very short reign of some of Israel’s kings in todays readings…victims of assassinations).
Lord God, thank You that You can work Your glorious purposes in all people, whatever their challenges or afflictions. Help me to see the potential in every life I encounter today. AMEN.

(iii) Pride comes before a fall
Lord, help me to guard against pride today. You bless the humble in heart. Give me Your perspective in every situation, and keep my heart pure, focussed on You and not on self. May my words today be sweet as honeycomb. AMEN.

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A gripped king – Agrippa !

26 09 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN : 2 Kings 12 v. 1 – 14 v. 22; Acts 25 v. 1 – 22; Psalm 81 v. 1 – 7

2 KINGS
Joash Repairs the Temple – Joash becomes king, when Jehu has been on the throne for seven years, and he reigns for forty years. ‘Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.’
However, the ‘high places’ remained and people continued to offer their sacrifices there.
Joash instructed the priests to collect all the money offered at the temple through the census or personal vows, and to use the money to repair the damage to the temple.
However, twenty-three years on and the damage still hadn’t been repaired, the priests are summoned and are asked why the temple is still not repaired. The priests agree to take no more money from people, and to hand over the money they do have, and to let others repair the temple.
A special chest was created to gather the money in, and was placed alongside the altar. The money was overseen by the ‘royal secretary and the high priest’ who counted it, bagged it, and gave it to the ‘site supervisor’ to pay the workmen, and to buy materials for the repair of the temple.
‘The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins….or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple…it was paid to the workmen, who used it to repair the temple.’
These workmen acted with complete honesty.
Only the money from the sin and guilt offerings remained for the priests.

Aram’s king Hazael attacked Gath and took control of it. Then he turned his attentions to Jerusalem.
Joash took all the sacred objects (previously dedicated by former kings), and all the gold found in the treasuries, and sent them to Hazael, who then withdrew from Jerusalem. Literally giving away the family silver, to avoid an attack by the enemy.
Other acts of Joash are written in the annals of the kings of Judah.
He was assassinated by his officials at Beth Millo (his assassins are named), and was buried in the City of David, and his son, Amaziah succeeds him.

Jehoahaz King of Israel – Joash has been king of Judah for 23 years when Jehoahaz becomes king of Israel, reigning for 17 years. ‘He did evil in the sight of the Lord…..so the Lord’s anger burned against Israel’. They suffer under the power of Aram’s king Hazael.
Jehoahaz seeks the ‘Lord’s favour’, and God hears him, sees Israel’s suffering and provides a ‘deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram’. However Israel still did not turn away from their sins, and the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria.
Israel’s army had been decimated – only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, 10,000 soldiers remained after Aram’s king had done his worst.
All Jehoahaz’s deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Israel. When he died, he was buried in Samaria and his son Jehoash succeeds him.

Jehoash King of Israel – Joash has been king of Judah for 37 years, when Jehoash becomes king in Israel (in Samaria). He reigns for 16 years. ‘He did evil in the eyes of the Lord’.
All the accounts of his deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Israel (including a war against Judah’s king Amaziah).
Jehoash died and was buried in Samaria, and he was succeeded by Jeroboam.
Then the story of Jehoash with Elisha:
Elisha is suffering an illness which will ultimately claim his life.
Jehoash visits him and weeps over the losses his army have sustained, and the small number remaining.
Elisha ‘puts his hands on the kings hands’, and instructs him to shoot arrows from his bow – firstly from the east window. Elisha said ‘The Lord’s arrow of victory…over Aram’, stating that Israel would conquer the Arameans of Aphek.
Next Jehoash is told to strike the ground with the arrows. Jehoash stops after three strikes, but Elisha wanted him to continue, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times, then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it’. The three times now signifies that Israel will only defeat Aram three times.
This is the last act of Elisha before he dies and is buried.

Another episode involves Moabite raiders who entered the country, and disturbed an Israelite burial. In their haste, the Israelites quickly threw the body into Elisha’s tomb. When the dead body touched the Elisha’s bones, it was revived – ‘the man came to life and stood up on his feet’.

Aram’s king Hazael oppressed Israel throughout Jehoahaz’s reign, but because of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His grace and compassion, Israle was neither completely destroyed or banished. When Hazael dies, his son Ben-Hadad succeeds him. Jehoash defeats Ben-Hadad three times (as per the arrows striking the ground earlier), and reclaims some of the towns lost to his father, Hazael.

Amaziah King of Israel – Jehoash had been king of Israel for two years, when Amaziah became king of Judah. He was 25 years old and reigned for 29 years. ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord’. The high places remained and people offered their sacrifices there.
Once he had established himself, Amaziah executed the officials who had finished off his father, Joash. The officials’ children were not executed though, in accordance with Mosaic law.
He defeats 10,000 Edomites in Salt Valley. He sends messengers to king Jehoash of Israel – ‘Come, meet me face to face’.
Jehoash’s reply is somewhat strange – ‘a thistle sends a message to a cedar in Lebanon asking for his son to be given in marriage to the cedar’s daughter…a wild beast tramples the thistle underfoot…You have indeed defeated Edom and are arrogant. Glory in your victory, but stay at home!’
Amaziah doesn’t listen so he and Jehoash do meet and attack each other at Beth Shemesh. ‘Judah was routed by Israel’, and Amaziah is captured by Jehoash, who then goes to Jerusalem and breaks a 600 foot length of the wall (from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate). He takes all the gold and silver and sacred items from the temple, and he takes hostages too, and returns to Samaria.
All his other deeds are recorded in the annals of the kings of Israel. Jehoash dies and is buried in Samaria, and his son, Jeroboam, succeeds him.
Amaziah lived for 15 years beyond Jehoash’s death – all his deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Judah.
He had fled to Lachish from Jerusalem, but they sent men to kill him there, which they did. His body was buried in Jerusalem (the City of David).
The people of Judah take his son, Azariah, a mere sixteen year old, and make him their king. He rebuilds Elath.

ACTS
The Trial Before Festus – after only three days waiting, Festus went to Jerusalem from Caesarea, to hear the charges the Jewish leaders brought against Paul. They wanted Festus to transfer Paul back to Jerusalem, as they had prepared an ambush and wished to kill him. Festus, however, urges some of the their leaders to return with him, to press charges against Paul in the right way.
After ten days with them, Festus returns to Caesarea, and calls the court together to hear the charges the Jews brought. They brought ‘many serious charges against him, which they could not prove’.
Paul defends himself, claiming to have done nothing to harm the law, the Jews, the temple or Caesar.
Festus asks if he is willing to go to Jerusalem to face charges there….

a strange request – there is no way Paul would want to face charges in Jerusalem, surely – Festus wanted to please the Jews, but seemed unable to ‘order’ that the trial happen in Jerusalem..

Paul asks, now, that his case be heard before Caesar, himself. ‘I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well…no-one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.’
Festus confers with council and declares that Paul will go before Caesar.

Festus Consults King Agrippa – Festus is visited by King Agrippa and Bernice, and so he took the time to talk through Paul’s case with the king. It’s a problem Felix left for him to sort out. The Jews have asked / demanded that Paul be condemned.
Festus tells of the courtroom drama when the Jews came to Caesarea with him to face Paul with their charges :
‘they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus whom Paul claimed was alive’.
King Agrippa is gripped by this story, and asks if he can meet Paul and hear what he has to say.
Festus agrees to make this happen, even the very next day.

PSALM (from ‘My Psalms’)
Come on everyone!
Sing joyful songs to our God, our strength.
Shout loud praise to our Lord, the God of the generations before us.
Play your music, shake your tambourines.
Strike up beautiful tunes with harps, with guitars.
Blast the trumpet month by month,
to herald the start of the new moon feasts.
What a delightful law, a God-given command,
a rule passed down by the God of our ancestors, Jacob and Joseph,
as they moved out of their oppression in Egypt.
A command to worship gladly, joyfully.
I heard our God speak to me – in a language I did not recognise

I lifted the burden from their shoulders.
I helped them leave their heavy loads.
I rescued you from danger when you called out to me.
I spoke to you through thunder,
I met with you at Meribah’s waters.





Who wears the crown….a seven-year old !!

13 09 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SIX : 2 Kings 10 v. 1 – 11 v. 21; Acts 24 v. 1 – 27; Psalm 80 v. 8 – 19

The line of King David is protected

2 KINGS
Ahab’s Family Killed – Seventy sons of the house of Ahab in Samaria! Jehu sends letters to the officials of Jezreel, to the elders and guardians of Ahab’s children, urging them to choose ‘the best and most worthy of your master’s sons to set on his father’s throne’, and to fight for their home.
They are terrified when they receive the letter, aware that two kings have previously failed to resist Jehu, and scared of the outcome of such a battle.
The city governors and elders send a message back to Jehu,‘we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.’
A second letter from Jehu invites them to meet with him at Jezreel, bringing with them ‘the heads of your master’s sons’.
The leading men of the city read the letter and slaughtered all seventy of the princes – put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.
The baskets of heads were put at the city-gate entrance til morning (yeuch!)
The following morning Jehu addresses the people at Jezreel, confirming that this was just as the prophet Elijah had foretold, ‘not a word the Lord has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail’.
Jehu finished off every member of Ahab’s family who was in Jezreel, including friends, chief staff members and his priests.
Jehu then heads off for Samaria. He meets relatives of Ahaziah, king of Judah, who ask him who he is, saying ‘we have come to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother’.
Jehu orders them to be taken alive, but then they are slaughtered by the well of Beth Eked – all forty-two of them.
Later Jehu encountered Jehonadab, son of Recab. Jehu asked him, ‘Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?’
Jehonadab says he is; Jehu takes him into his chariot, taking him along with him. Once in Samaria, ‘Jehu killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family….’

Ministers of Baal Killed –
Jehu’s message to the people was ‘Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much.’
All the prophets and priests of Baal were summoned under the false promise of a ‘great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live’.
Word went out all across Israel, and every minister of Baal turned up.
The temple of Baal is packed out with worshippers. Jehu has them all robed up. A check was made that there were no ‘servants of the Lord’ present, only ministers of Baal. Then the order is given to eighty soldiers who had been posted outside, to ‘Go in (to the temple) and kill them; let no-one escape’.
All are killed…the sacred stone of Baal is burned, and the temple demolished, ‘and people have used it as a latrine to this day’.
Jehu destroys Baal worship in Israel, yet he doesn’t turn from worshipping the golden calves at Bethel and Dan (the sins of Jeroboam).
The Lord is pleased with Jehu’s actions ridding Israel of Baal worship, and pledges that his descendants will ‘sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation’.
But because of his other misdeeds, the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel – Hazael overthrows the areas east of the Jordan (region of God, Reuben and Manasseh).
All Jehu’s deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Israel. After reigning for twenty-eight years, Jehu dies and is buried in Samaria, and his son, Jehoahaz succeeds him as king.

Athaliah and Joash – Athaliah is Ahaziah’s mother, and when she learns of his death, she pledges to destroy the royal family. Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba takes her nephew, Joash, and hides him away from the other royal princes, in the temple of the Lord, with his nurse. He is hidden for six years, while Athaliah rules the land.
In year seven, Jehoiada summons the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and guards, to the temple where he makes a covenant with them, showing them where the king (king’s son) is hiding and putting them on guard (1/3 at the royal palace, 1/3 at the Sur Gate, 1/3 guarding the temple). Everyone needed to be at his station, armed and ready. ‘Anyone who approaches your ranks must be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes’.
Everyone followed Jehoiada’s commands. He passes out the spears and shields which had belonged to King David, and everyone is sent to their station.
‘Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king.’
He is anointed and all the people shout ‘Long live the King’.
Athaliah hears the celebrations and goes to the temple. When she sees the king, she shouts ‘Treason! Treason!’
She is seized and is put to death outside the temple.
‘Jehoiada then made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people that they would be the Lord’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people’.
Baal’s temple is torn down, its altars and idols smashed to pieces.
The new king is brought from the temple to the palace, surrounded by the guards.
There is peace in the lands, all the people rejoicing.
Joash, the new king, was only seven when he became king.

Hard to imagine being king at age seven…Joash is going to reign for forty years and be known as a good king whilst he has Jehoiada, the priest, alongside him. When Jehoiada dies, the nation falls away from God again, as the young king struggles to remain faithful to God (2 Chr. 24 v. 17 – 25). Observe how the young Joash needs the prayer-filled wisdom of Jehoiada to lead faithfully.
Who is your Jehoiada ? Or who is your Joash ?
Accountability is essential.



ACTS

The Trial Before Felix – It took five further days before Ananias, the high priest, arrived in Caesarea with elders and Tertullus, a lawyer, to bring their charges against Paul, in front of governor Felix.
Tertullus presents the case :
– ‘Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge with profound gratitude…a long period of peace under you, and your foresight bringing about reforms in the nation’
– ‘We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world’
– ‘He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect…’
and he urges Felix to examine Paul and find these charges true. The other Jews present add their weight to the charges.
Paul has his opportunity to respond:
– ‘My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone in the temple, or stirring up a crowd…and they cannot prove the charges they are making’
– ‘I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way…’
– ‘I believe everything that agrees with the Law..and the prophets’
– ‘I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked…’
He explains that his purpose in visiting Jerusalem, after several years away, was to bring gifts for the poor and bring offerings, and suggest that it is some of the Jews from Asia who were there who have stirred things up for him, and ought really to be before Felix presenting their case.
Felix is described as being ‘well acquainted with the Way’, and he adjourns the proceedings.
Paul is kept under guard, but with some freedoms, including access to his friends, until Lysias, the commander, returns, and then Felix will make his judgment.
Several times, Felix brings Paul from prison to hear him talk. He and his wife, Drusilla (a Jewess), hear him talk of faith in Jesus, righteousness, judgment. Felix is both interested and sometimes afraid by Paul’s teaching. His motivation for seeing Paul over and over again was the hope that Paul would offer him a bribe – something Paul never did.
Paul spends two whole years in prison, left there by Felix as a ‘favour to the Jews’, until Felix is succeeded by Porcius Festus.

Two years is a LONG time to be in prison, without any conviction of a crime….

PSALM (taken from ‘My Psalms’)

There’s a fruitful vine which You uprooted from Egypt,
and planted in a land You cleared.
You dug deep for the roots, and it spread across the land.
Even mountains were covered by its shade,
tall cedar trees overgrown by its branches.
See how far it spread, east to west
from the shores of the sea, to the banks of the river.

So why is this precious vine left so vulnerable?
The wall of protection smashed down,
passers-by help themselves to its fine fruit.
Wild animals and beasts help themselves,
ravaging, devouring.
My Lord, my God, come back – don’t leave us like this.
See what’s happening to Your precious vine –
Your own hands planted it –
it is Your own workmanship, Your own offspring, Your Son.
Behold, the vine :
chopped down, burnt in flames,
Your people dying out.
May Your hand of blessing rest upon the Son of Man,
the one on Your right,
who You are raising up for Your own purposes.
Act swiftly, and we will never turn from You.

Revive us, and we will ever praise Your name.
My Lord, my God, build us up again,
shine Your smile upon us, and save us.
AMEN.





Murder in the air….

3 09 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE : 2 Kings 8 v. 16 – 9 v. 37; Acts 23 v. 12 – 35; Psalm 80 v. 1 – 7

2 KINGS
Jehoram King of Judah – Jehoram is 32 years old when he becomes king in Judah, succeeding Jehoshaphat, and in the fifth year of the reign of Joram in Israel. ‘He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Nevertheless, for the sake of His servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah…’
During Jehoram’s reign, Edom rebelled, and established its own king. There was a battle, but Jehoram retreated, and ‘to this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.‘ Libnah also revolted.
All Jehoram’s deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Judah.
Jehoram died and was buried in the City of David.
His son, Ahaziah succeeds him.

Ahaziah King of Judah – Ahaziah becomes king at the age of 22 (in the twelfth year of the reign of King Joram of Israel). Ahaziah reigned for one year! His mother, Athaliah, was a granddaughter of Omri, king of Israel. ‘He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord…’
Ahaziah and Joram join forces in battle against Hazael, king of Aram, at Ramoth Gilead.
King Joram is wounded in battle and goes to Jezreel to recover. Ahaziah goes across to Jezreel to visit Joram to see how his wounds are recovering.

Jehu Anointed King of Israel – Elisha summons one of the prophets and commissions him :
– tuck your cloak into your belt
– take a flask of oil to Ramoth Gilead
– find Jehu (son of Jehoshaphat), and take him to a private, inner room
– pour oil on his head and anoint him king over Israel
‘then open the door and run; don’t delay’
So the prophet does as he’s been instructed to. He tells Jehu that the Lord says, ‘You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets….shed by Jezebel….As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her…and no-one will bury her.’
He anoints Jehu, and then runs off.
Jehu tells his fellow officers what has happened, and they all take of their cloaks and lay them down beneath his feet; they blow trumpets and shout, ‘Jehu is king !’

Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah – Jehu begins to conspire against Joram. Remember Joram was in Jezreel, recovering from a wound he received in battle against Hazael. Jehu sets out for Jezreel where both king Joram and king Ahaziah (of Judah) are.
The lookout on the tower in Jezreel sees Jehu and his troops approaching, and alerts the kings. Joram sends a horseman out to meet them asking ‘do you come in peace?’
The horseman goes out, but joins Jehu’s troops when told to ‘fall in behind me’.
The lookout reports that this horseman is not coming back, so Jehu sends a second horseman, and exactly the same things happens again.
This time the lookout alerts the kings that these troops are being led by Jehu – ‘the driving is like that of Jehu…he drives like a madman!’
This time, the kings go themselves, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. The meeting is on the land of Naboth :

‘Sooner or later, disobedience will have its reward. The house of Ahab had killed Naboth to get his land (1 Kings 21), and now two kings (the son and son-in-law of Ahab) would meet their death in a battle on that very land’ (Wesley Study Bible)

 Joram, himself, asks if Jehu’s intentions are peaceful. The answer comes:
‘How can there be peace as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound ?’
Joram turns to race off, warning Ahaziah to flee too, shouting about Jehu’s ‘treachery’.
Jehu shoots Joram between the shoulders with his bow. Joram’s heart is pierced, and Jehu’s chariot officer, Bidkar, throws Joram’s body into the field (of Naboth the Jezreelite), ‘in accordance with the word of the Lord.’
Ahaziah attempts to flee, but Jehu chases him, and tries to kill him. Ahaziah, however, is seriously wounded, and dies later in Megiddo. He is taken to Jerusalem and is buried in the City of David.

Jezebel Killed – Jehu arrives in Jezreel. Jezebel puts on make-up, arranges her hair, and attracts Jehu’s attention from her window, asking if he comes in peace (having just killed his master!). Jehu asks who is on his side, and two eunuchs appear at the window. Jehu urges them to throw Jezebel down from the window. They do!
Her blood-spattered body is trampled by horses.
Jehu goes to celebrate with a feast and drinking, urging others to bury her (after all, she was a king’s daughter). However the only traces of her body remaining were her skull, feet and hands.
Jehu recognises the fulfilment of God’s word…‘dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. Jezebel’s body will be like refuse on the ground…’

ACTS
The Plot to Kill Paul – Next day…Jewish conspiracy…pact not to eat or drink until Paul is killed…forty men committed to the cause….they go to chief priests and demand they tell the commander to gather the Sanhedrin and bring Paul before them….‘We are ready to kill him before he gets here’.
Paul’s nephew gets wind of the plot….he goes to tell Paul, in the barracks…Paul tells one of the centurions to take his nephew to the commander….the nephew tells the commander, ‘Don’t give in to them (the Sanhedrin), because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him’….the commander sends Paul’s nephew away with strict instructions not to tell anyone.

Thank God for those times when blood is thicker than anything else…Paul’s nephew was taking a huge risk going to the commander…thank God for family ties which can be proven to be a God-send in times of adversity. Paul’s nephew literally saves his life by his actions here.

Paul Transferred to Caesarea – the commander calls two centurions….he organises safe passage for Paul (200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, 200 spearmen) to Caesarea by night….Paul is taken to Governor Felix with a letter from the commander….the letter reads :
From Claudius Lysias,
To His Excellency, Governor Felix,
Greetings…the Jews are out to get this man….he is a Roman citizen, so I rescued him….I brought him to their Sanhedrin, but their accusations are to do with their law….I find no charge to deserve death or imprisonment….I have sent him to you to be safe from their plot to kill him….and I’m still waiting for them to present their case to me.
The soldiers carried out their orders….Paul is taken to Antipatris overnight…and then on to Caesarea (the cavalry taking the lead, whilst the soldiers returned to barracks)…Paul and the letter are delivered to the governor….the governor finds out from Paul that he is from the province of Cilicia….‘I will hear your case when your accusers get here’…..Paul is kept under guard at Herod’s palace.

By God’s hand, Paul is being given safe passage on his journey headed towards Rome !

PSALM (from ‘My Psalms’)

My Lord, my God – Shepherd of Your chosen (Israel),
who led Joseph as You lead all Your flock –
hear us out.
My Lord, my God – Mighty, enthroned amidst angels,
ruler of all nations (Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh),
stir up Your power,
come to us – rescue us!

My Lord, my God, build us up again,
shine Your smile upon us, and save us.

My Lord, our Mighty God,
how long will You be angry towards Your people,
holding their prayers against them?
Look at their suffering –
You have fed them with their daily tears.
You have watered them with bowls full of weeping.
You have allowed them to become a laughing stock,
there are so many who stand against them.

My Lord, my God, build us up again,
shine Your smile upon us, and save us.