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.

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