Not ashamed of the gospel…

3 12 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-THREE : 2 Kings 23 v. 1 – 24 v. 7; Romans 1 v. 1 – 17; Psalm 84 v.1 – 7

Josiah Renews the Covenant
– the king calls all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem together at the temple – the least and the greatest gathered there.
The words of the Book of the Covenant are read to all the people.
‘The King stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord – to follow the Lord and keep His commands…with all his heart and all his soul…then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.’
The priests are ordered to remove the Baal and Asherah articles from the temple, and to burn them in the Kidron Valley (outside Jerusalem).
The pagan priests are ‘done away with’; the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes are torn down.
Josiah arranged for all the high places to be desecrated, breaking down shrines at the gates (incl. Joshua gate).
He desecrated Topheth, so ‘no-one could sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech’.
‘He removed from the entrance to the temple of the Lord the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun’.
Chariots dedicated to the sun are burned; altars built to other gods, within the temple, are pulled down and thrown into the Kidron Valley.
Many high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles were destroyed.
The altar at Bethel, also, is destroyed. Tombs on the hillside at Bethel had the bones removed, and the altar is desecrated by having those bones burned on it – all except the tombs of the ‘man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel…‘ and the prophet from Samaria – their tombs were left untouched.
Also, the high places in the towns of Samaria were removed and defiled. Priests were slaughtered and human bones were burned on the shrine altars.

After all this cleasing, Josiah returned to Jerusalem and called for the Passover to be celebrated (it had been a long time since the nation had celebrated Passover – not since the judges had ruled over the nation).

Josiah got rid of mediums, spiritists, household gods, idols etc. throughout Judah and Jerusalem.
‘He did this to fulfil the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord.’
Josiah ‘was a king who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.’
God still had anger towards the wrong Manasseh had done throughout Judah, and continued to say He was going to remove Judah from His presence, rejecting Jerusalem and the temple ‘about which I said, ‘There shall my Name be’.’
All Josiah’s deeds are recorded in the annals of the kings of Judah.

In one episode, Josiah stood against the armies of Assyria and Egypt who had joined forces. Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Neco at Megiddo, and his body was taken to Jerusalem, to his own tomb. Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, is anointed as the new king.

Jehoahaz King of Judah – Jehoahaz becomes king when he is 23 years old. He reigns for just three months. He ‘did evil in the eyes of the Lord’. He was put in chains by Pharaoh Neco, and a tax levy was placed on Judah (100 talents of silver, one of gold). In his place, Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim (Josiah’s son) the new king. Eliakim’s name is changed to Jehoiakim, and he pays the levy by imposing a tax on the land, taking the money from the people of Judah.
Jehoahaz dies in Egypt.

Jehoiakim King of Judah – At twenty-five years old, Jehoiakim becomes king, and he reigns for eleven years. He is the son of Zebidah, from Rumah. Jehoiakim also does evil in the eyes of the Lord. During his reign, Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar attacks the land and for three years Jehoiakim becomes his vassal; then he turns against Nebuchadnezzar, and finds himself fighting against Babylonians, Arameans, Moabites and Ammonites, who were all seeking to destroy Judah, in accordance with prophetic words which had been spoken.
All this is seen to be the result of Manasseh’s disobedience – shedding innocent blood….‘and the Lord was not willing to forgive’.
Jehoiakim’s deeds are all written in the annals of the kings of Judah. He dies and is buried along with his fathers; his son, Jehoiachin succeeds him.
Egypt no longer encroached on Judaean territory, as the Babylonians had themselves taken it.


Introduction – It’s always fascinating to hear how someone introduces themselves.
Paul describes himself as being
– a servant of Christ Jesus
– called to be an apostle (sent-one, commissioned, church-planter)
– set apart for the gospel of God (the gospel of Jesus having been promised through the prophets)
Paul describes Jesus as being
– as to his human nature, a descendant of David
– through the Spirit of holiness, declared with power to be the Son of God, by His resurrection from the dead
Paul describes his mission / calling as
– having received grace and apostleship
– ‘to call people from among all the gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith’
– the Romans are among those called to belong to Jesus
– to share the grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome –

the faith of the Roman Christians is reported to Paul, and ‘all over the world’, so Paul gives thanks. As Paul serves God ‘with his whole heart’, preaching, and remembering in prayer ‘at all times’ the Roman Christians, he expresses his longing to visit them.
His desire to see them is to impart ‘some spiritual gift to make you strong’ – a gift of encouragement (lit. ‘to strengthen one another’), in sharing faith together.
Paul senses that he has been prevented from making that journey to see them, many times, as he longs to have a ‘harvest among you, just as I have had among other Gentiles’.
Paul has a calling to both Greeks and non-Greeks; wise and foolish.
‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.’ (Jew and Gentile)
A righteousness which begins and ends by faith (first to last).
‘The righteous will live by faith’

Musical director’s notes : to be played on the gittith.
A song from Korah’s sons.

‘The place where You abide, my Lord, my God, is beautiful.
My whole being longs to be within its walls.
My heart cries out, my flesh desires nothing more than to be with You,
Living God.

Sparrows have a home
Swallows have a nest for their young
right alongside Your altar
my Lord, my God.
True, blessed happiness is found in Your presence,
at home in Your home,
praising You endlessly.

True happiness accompanies those who trust in Your strength,
who seek t0 journey with You.
Pilgrims through barren valleys, bringing springwater, autumnal rains.
Onwards and upwards, not losing, but gaining strength with every step.
Journeying on to God, to the Holy City (Zion).’




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