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Choices Conditions Consequences

Choices Conditions ConsequencesAll these blessings will come upon you and overtake you
If you obey The LORD your GOD
Deuteronomy 28:2

But it shall come about, if you do not obey The LORD your GOD
To observe to do all HIS commandments and HIS statutes
With which I charge you today
That all these curses will come upon you and overtake you
Deuteronomy 28:15

A choice is the act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more options. Our Beloved LORD GOD from the very beginning has given each person, the ability to freely make choices.

Throughout a person’s lifetime, they will make choices all through the day. They will decide what time to get up in the morning; what time to go to bed at night; what to eat; what to wear; how to schedule their day. And from time to time, they will decide whether or not to go to school; look for a new job; accept a transfer; buy or sell a house; make an investment; pursue friendship or marriage. But their most important choices, will be the spiritual choices. The choices to accept or reject GOD’s salvation (Jhn 3:16, Jhn 12:44-50); to seek to know HIM daily (1 Chr 16:11, Pro 8:34-36); to choose to listen, trust, and obey (Pro 8:32-33, Luk 6:46-49, Luk 8:21). These spiritual choices, will not only affect the quality of one’s temporal life (life while on earth), but will also determine where one will spend eternal life. Therefore, choose carefully, and wisely.

How does one choose wisely? One chooses wisely, when their choice is made from godly wisdom (Psa 111:10). They seek GOD’s counsel then wait patiently for HIS answer, guidance, or instruction on the matter (Jam 1:5). One who chooses wisely, is one who honors GOD. One who chooses foolishly, will make a choice based on worldly wisdom (Jam 3:15). They will not seek GOD’s counsel, because they do not believe in HIM (Psa 14:1). Instead, they trust in their own understanding (Pro 16:25), doing what is right in their own eyes (Pro 12:15). One who chooses foolishly, is one who honors self. Choosing wisely, leads to positive outcomes (blessings). Choosing foolishly, leads to negative outcomes (curses).

The choices one makes in life, determines whether their life is blessed or cursed. Which makes blessings and curses  conditional.  You might be thinking, “that’s not true” but from The BIBLE,  we can provide evidence that it is. But before we do, let us take a moment to define what are blessings and curses.

The definition of a blessing or a curse is dependent on who’s doing the blessing or the cursing:

If the blessing is from:

  • GOD, it means the state of prosperity or happiness (Psa 119:1, Mat 5:3-11), because of GOD’s favor and protection (Gen 12:1-3, Mat 25:34)
  • Man to GOD, it is an expression of praise and adoration (Psa 103:1-5)
  • Man to man, it is the pronouncement of GOD’s blessing on men for the present (Num 6:22-27), and the future (Gen 27:1-38)

If the curse is from:

  • GOD, it is a pronouncement of judgment on those who break covenant (Gen 3:17); to invoke harm, or misfortune upon (Pro 3:33); to devote to destruction (Mat 25:41, Mrk 11:12-14↔Mrk 11:20-21)
  • Man to GOD, it is to blaspheme (Job 1:11, Rev 16:9, Rev 16:11, Rev 16:21)
  • Man to man, it is to verbally abuse (Gen 12:3); to criticize in an insulting manner (2 Sam 16:5-8); to devote to destruction (Mrk 14:71, Rom 12:14)

What is the biblical evidence that blessings and curses are conditional? When something is conditional, it means that an outcome is dependent on one or more conditions, or requirements being met. The conditions for blessings and curses is seen throughout The BIBLE. Some reflect “if then” others simply start with “if” as demonstrated by the following:

  • if we believe, GOD saves (Jhn 3:16)
  • if we obey, GOD blesses (Deu 28:1-2)
  • if we endure, GOD rewards (Mat 24:13)
  • if we trust, GOD directs (Pro 3:5-6)
  • if we wait, GOD strengthens (Isa 40:31)
  • if we commit, GOD establishes (Pro 16:3)
  • if we delight, GOD gives (Psa 37:4)
  • if we reject, GOD judges (Jhn 12:48)
  • if we disobey, GOD curses (Deu 28:15)
  • if we do not forgive others, GOD will not forgive us (Mat 6:15)

Then Christians can be cursed? No, not when they are true followers of CHRIST. JESUS redeemed those who would fully trust  and obey (follow) HIM from the curse (Gal 3:10-14).

Then why do Christians suffer? It is important not to confuse being cursed with being persecuted, purified, or disciplined (2 Tim 3:12, Dan 12:10, Zec 13:9, Heb 12:7-11). Every faithful child of GOD through JESUS CHRIST will go through three levels of suffering:

  1. we will suffer for JESUS CHRIST’s Namesake, because we are in this world not of this world. Therefore the world hates us, and will persecute us, just as they persecuted our Beloved SAVIOR (Jhn 15:18-25).
  2. we will suffer when going through the process of being made righteous, and blameless (Jam 1:2). We must daily pick up our own cross by denying self and walk-in obedience (Luk 9:23-25).
  3. we can suffer the temporal consequences of sin. Though our sins are forgiven (1 Pet 1:18-19), and we will not face the eternal consequence of sin (Rom 6:23), there can still be temporal suffering as a consequence of those sins.

What is an example of a Christian suffering consequences in this life, for sins that have been forgiven? For example, our physical bodies are dying, as a consequence of Adam’s sin (1 Cor 15:22). Women undergo painful childbirth, as the consequence of Eve’s sin (Gen 3:16). With difficulty we earn a living, as the consequence of Adam’s sin (Gen 3:17-19). Many have diseased bodies, and broken lives, as the consequence of immoral living (Rom 1:24-32). Sadly, there are those who continually surrendered to temptation, turned away from GOD, and did not confess or seek forgiveness of ongoing sins (Eze 18:21-26); and in the end succumbed to both physical, and spiritual death (Jam 1:13-15, Rev 21:8)

Is there a specific example in The BIBLE of an individual being forgiven for sin, and yet suffer the temporal consequences of that sin? Yes, we will actually discuss three, king David, the criminal on the cross next to JESUS, and the apostle Paul:

  1. king David fully obeyed our Beloved LORD GOD, with the exception of Uriah the Hittite (1 Kin 15:5), where he:
  • saw the wife of Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam 11:1-2), one of his closest fighting men (1 Chr 11:10-47)
  • inquired about her (2 Sam 11:3)
  • committed adultery with her (2 Sam 11:4)
  • impregnated her (2 Sam 11:5)
  • brought Uriah from the battlefield, to try and cover up his sin (2 Sam 11:6-13)
  • but Uriah was honorable, and chose not to be with his wife, while the ark and fighting men of Israel were on the battlefield; therefore king David sent Uriah back to battlefield, unknowingly carrying his own execution order in his hand (2 Sam 11:14-27)
  • did not acknowledge or confess these sins before GOD until, GOD sent HIS prophet Nathan (2 Sam 12:1-12, Psa 51:1-19)
  • was forgiven (2 Sam 11:13, Psa 32:1-11)
  • suffered the consequences of his sins, in the matter of Uriah the Hittite:
  • killing and murder would continually plague David’s family (2 Sam 12:9-10, 2 Sam 13:1-39, 1 Kin chptrs 1-2)
  • his enemies would be from his own family (2 Sam 12:11, 2 Sam chptrs 15-17)
  • his own wives would be publicly violated (2 Sam 12:12, 2 Sam 16:21-22)
  1. the criminal on the cross next to JESUS:
  • was a robber (Luk 23:42-43)
  • was forgiven (Luk 23:42-43)
  • suffered the consequences of his sins, was still crucified (Luk 23:39-41, Jhn 19:31-32) 
  1. the apostle Paul:
  • was among those who stoned Stephen, the first martyr for JESUS (Act 7:51-60)
  • persecuted the body of CHRIST (Act 8:1-3, Act 22:4-5, Php 3:6)
  • was a violent aggressor and blasphemer (1 Tim 1:12-13, Act 26:9-11)
  • was forgiven (Act 22:6-16, 1 Cor 15:8-11)
  • suffered the consequences of his sins:
  • he would suffer for CHRIST’s namesake, just as he made CHRIST’s followers suffer (Act 9:10-25, 2 Cor 4:8-11, 2 Cor 11:23-33)
  • he would be imprisoned and die, just as he had imprisoned and killed the saints (Act 16:16-30, Act 21:10-14, Act 23:12-35, 2 Tim 4:6-8)

We all want blessings in life, but we must wait patiently and meet GOD’s conditions for them. We should always seek GOD’s counsel and guidance in making choices? And never rely on self, or our own perspective when making choices?

Who is the man who fears The LORD?
HE will instruct him in the way
he should choose
Psalm 25:12

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse
The blessing, if you listen to the commandments of The LORD your GOD, which I am commanding you today
And the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of The LORD your GOD
But turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today
By following other gods which you have not known
Deuteronomy 11:26-28

For he who does wrong
Will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done
And that without partiality
Colossians 3:24

In Conclusion (2 Kings Chapters 24-25)

A Study in 2 Kings“Behold, the days are coming,” declares The LORD
When I will raise up for David a righteous BRANCH
And HE will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
In HIS days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely
And this is HIS NAME by which HE will be called
‘The LORD our Righteousness.’
Jeremiah 23:5-6

In the study of the last two chapters of 2 Kings (chapters 24 and 25), and the last chapter of 2 Chronicles (2 Chr 36) we will both learn lessons from and witness:

  1. righteous king Josiah’s three sons and one grandson briefly reign in Judah (2 Chr 36:1-12)
  2. the fulfillment of GOD’s WORD concerning:
    1. HIS deliverance of Judah’s remnant into the hands of their enemies
    2. removing Judah from HIS land; sending then into Babylonian exile; including some of king Hezekiah’s sons who would serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace
    3. treasures taken from the king’s house into Babylon
    4. securing the holy things and treasuries from the temple of our Beloved LORD GOD
    5. the destruction of Jerusalem and HIS temple
  3. good figs and bad figs
  4. Jeremiah the prophet (2 Chr 36:11-12)
  5. the puppet governor Gedaliah (2 Kin 25:22-25)
  6. Cyrus king of Persia and his proclamation (2 Chr 36:22-23)            

King Josiah’s sons and grandson:

The last four kings to reign in Judah and Jerusalem before the Babylonian exile, were three sons and a grandson of king Josiah (1 Chr 3:15-16). None of them practiced righteousness, as their father and grandfather king Josiah had. Instead they did the same evil in the sight of our Beloved LORD GOD, as other kings before them. And as a result all four were removed from the throne and taken into exile:

  1. king Josiah’s youngest son Shallum (aka Jehoahaz):
    1. was put on the throne by people of Judah and Jerusalem after his father died (2 Kin 23:30)
    2. after three months the king of Egypt, Pharaoh Neco, forcibly removed him from power and imprisoned him in Egypt, where he died (2 Kin 23:31-34, 2 Chr 36:1-4, Jer 22:10-12)
  2. king Josiah’s second born son Eliakim (aka Jehoiakim):
    1. was made king by Pharaoh Neco in place of his youngest brother Jehoahaz (2 Kin 23:34, 2 Chr 36:4)
    2. Pharaoh Neco changed his name to Jehoiakim, and made him a puppet king (a figurehead who is installed by a powerful ruler of an empire in order to provide the appearance of local authority, while allowing political and economic control to remain among the empire). Pharaoh Neco ruled over king Jehoiakim for eleven years, and made him pay tribute as leader of a conquered nation (2 Kin 23:35-36)
    3. in king Jehoiakim’s last three years of reign, king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Pharaoh Neco, and took all that belonged to him (2 Kin 24:7, Jer 46:2). Jehoiakim then became a puppet king for king Nebuchadnezzar paying tribute to him (2 Kin 24:1, Dan 1:1).
    4. after serving king Nebuchadnezzar for three years, king Jehoiakim decided to rebel against him (2 Kin 24:1); so king Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem surrounded it with his Babylonian army (Dan 1:1), forced king Jehoiakim to surrender, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon (2 Chr 36:6)
    5. king Jehoiakim was unlike his righteous father king Josiah, who through tears humbled himself and repented before our Beloved LORD GOD, when he heard The WORD of GOD. Instead, he despised The WORDs of GOD given through Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim would cut each page and throw it into the fire, once the page was read to him (Jer 36:1-28). As a result, GOD declared his body would not be buried at death, and none of his sons would permanently sit on the throne after him (Jer 22:17-19, Jer 36:29-31)
  3. king Josiah’s grandson, king Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin (aka Jeconiah, Coniah):
    1. became king when his father king Jehoiakim died; he reigned only three months and ten days when king Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem for a second invasion of the city. It was at this second invasion king Jehoiachin, his mother, his wives, his officials, the leading men of Judah and Jerusalem, men of valor, craftsmen and smiths, and men fit for war, were led away into Babylonian exile; eighteen thousand souls (2 Kin 24:8-16)
    2. king Jehoiachin was imprisoned for almost thirty-seven years in Babylon, but at the very end of the thirty-seventh years, he was released from prison. Jehoiachin was treated well by king Nebuchadnezzar’s son (Evil-merodach), who now reigned in Babylon, however king Jehoiachin would die in exile, never seeing his homeland again (2 Kin 25:27-30, Jer 22:24-27).
  4. king Josiah’s third born son Mattaniah (aka Zedekiah):
    1. Zedekiah was made king by king Nebuchadnezzar when his nephew was taken into Babylonian exile (2 Kin 24:17, 2 Chr 36:10)
    2. king Zedekiah served and paid tribute to king Nebuchadnezzar until he rebelled against him in his ninth year (2 Chr 36:11-13); causing king Nebuchadnezzar and his army to return to Jerusalem for the third and final invasion (2 Kin 25:1-7, 2 Chr 36:11-21, Jer 39:1-2).
    3. king Zedekiah sought the counsel of The LORD from Jeremiah, but he did not heed the counsel given (Jer 37:1-21, Jer 38:1-28). Consequently, he suffered the consequences. He tried to flee and was captured (Jer 52:7-9), his sons were put to death in front of him (Jer 52:10), he was blinded, and taken into Babylonian exile in bronze chains (Jer 52:11), all the homes in Jerusalem, including the temple were set on fire and all the walls around the holy city were torn down (Jer 52:12-14)

Reflecting on king Josiah, and his three sons and grandson, who sat on the throne after him; we must carefully consider how we as parents are raising our children. Do we train our children in the way they should live godly lives (Pro 22:6), by being an example (Deu 4:9). Do we daily and diligently teaching them The WORD of GOD (Deu 6:7, 2 Tim 3:14-15), while sharing our personal testimonies of HIS goodness, faithfulness, and power (Psa 78:3-8)? May our Beloved LORD GOD say of us, what HE said of HIS friend Abraham in Genesis 18:19 “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of The LORD by doing righteousness and justice.”

The fulfilment of GOD’s WORD

Like Israel, our Beloved LORD GOD sent HIS prophets to Judah, over and over, calling for repentance (2 Kin 17:13-14, Jer 7:25). But the people of Judah, like the people of Israel refused to turn from their evil ways, and refused to believe GOD’s warnings (2 Chr 36:15-16, Jer 7:26-28). So, in the final two chapters of 2 Kings (chptrs 24-25), we witness the fulfilment of GOD’s WORD to:

  1. deliver the remnant of Judah into the hands of their enemies (2 Kin 21:14, 2 Kin 24:2, Psa 106:42)
  2. remove Judah from HIS land (2 Kin 23:27), send them into Babylonian exile (2 Kin 20:16-18, 2 Kin 24:3-4, Jer 39:1-9), including some of king Hezekiah’s sons who would serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace (2 Kin 20:18, Dan 1:1-7)
  3. take treasures from the king’s house into Babylon (2 Kin 20:17, 2 Kin 24:13, Isa 39:6)
  4. secure the holy things and treasuries from HIS temple (Jer 27:18-22).
  5. destroy Jerusalem and HIS temple (2 Kin 23:26-27, 2 Kin 25:8-10, 2 Chr 36:19)

It’s important to point out three things about our wonderful LORD GOD, concerning Judah’s exile to Babylon, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the temple. Indeed GOD’s WORD was fulfilled concerning these matters, but it was not the end of the story. First, our Beloved LORD GOD is merciful (Psa 145:8-9), a GOD of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18-19). From the very beginning when man fell in the garden, our merciful GOD through HIS plan of redemption (Gen 3:15), made a way for the banished one to be restored (2 Sam 14:14). As demonstrated, by HIS promise to restore the exiled descendants of Abraham back to the promise land (Jer 30:1-3). Second, our Beloved LORD GOD is faithful (Deu 7:9), HE promised king David would always have a lamp through his sons before HIMSELF in Jerusalem, the city where HE chose to put HIS NAME (1 Kings 11:36, 2 Kings 8:19). Therefore, the nation of Judah would only be in Babylonian exile for seventy years (Jer 29:10-14), both Jerusalem and HIS temple would be rebuilt (Isa 44:28), and king David’s descendant would reign on his throne forever (Luk 1:31-33). Third, our Beloved LORD GOD preserved the treasures of HIS temple for the time when Jerusalem and HIS temple would be rebuilt. King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem three times, and each time the treasures from the temple and palace were safely carried into Babylon (2 Kin 24:13, 2 Kin 25:13-17, 2 Chr 36:5-7, 2 Chr 36:9-10), and stored until our Beloved LORD GOD would return them with the exiles (Ezr 5:13-15, Ezr 1:1-11).

 Good figs and Bad figs

After king Josiah’s grandson was taken into Babylonian captivity, our Beloved LORD GOD showed HIS prophet Jeremiah, a vision in which there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of The LORD. One basket had very good figs, and the second basket had very bad figs, that were so rotten, they couldn’t be eaten.

Our LORD told Jeremiah the good figs were the captives of Judah, HE would send into Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans. Our Beloved LORD GOD would give these captives a heart to know HIM and return to HIM whole-heartedly. HE would watch over them in their exile, and bring them back to the promise land (Jer 24:4-7) at the end of seventy years (Jer 29:10). Among the good figs were members of the royal family, including Hezekiah’s descendants (2 Chr 36:20, Isa 39:7, Dan 1:3-5); Daniel the prophet (Dan 1:6-7, Mat 24:15); the three Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah (Dan 1:6-7)… The bad figs who refused to voluntarily go into Babylonian exile were king Zedekiah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remained in the land, and those who went into Egypt for Pharaoh’s protection (Jer 24:8-10, 2 Kin 25:26, Jer 42:1-22).

The lesson of the good figs and bad figs is such a clear example of what happens when we trust in ourselves instead of trusting in The LORD GOD (Pro 3:5-7). Indeed through many examples in HIS WORD, we have seen time and time again that our Beloved LORD GOD does not do things the way we do things. HE told Joseph “one day he would rule over his family.” Instead of progressing as the leader of his family, Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and put into prison. All which positioned him to be ruler in Egypt and protector of life (Gen 37:1-36, Gen chapters 39-50, Psa 105:17-24). Our GOD did not use weapons to conquer Jericho, instead trumpets sounded, fighting men marched for seven days, a war cry went up, and the fortified walls of Jericho fell (Jos 6:1-27). HE sent Gideon and three hundred men successfully into battle against an army so numerous they could not be counted, with only pitchers and torches in their hands (Judges chapters 6-8). And in this lesson, HE sends those HE considers good into captivity; away from all they know. What we consider a setback in the natural, is really a promotion in the spiritual. Which should teach us to continually trust HIM at all times (Psa 62:8), and seek HIS counsel in all circumstances (Psa 32:8, Psa 48:14).  

Jeremiah the prophet

Jeremiah was a young man called and anointed by GOD as a prophet (Jer 1:4-5). Jeremiah’s call came in the 13th year of righteous king Josiah’s reign, and lasted until the fifth month of Jerusalem’s Babylonian exile (Jer 1:1-3).

Our Beloved LORD GOD used Jeremiah to speak to the nation of Judah, Jerusalem, and the kings of Judah during the final twenty-two years before exile. After the fall of Judah and Jerusalem, our GOD continued to use Jeremiah to speak to the nation in captivity (Jer 29:1-14), the remnant left in the land (Jer 42:1-22), and the enemies of Judah and Jerusalem (Jer chapters 46-51). And that is the reason, this final study in 2 Kings (chapters 24 and 25), contain many Scripture references from The Book of Jeremiah, which provide great details of information.

Today, our Beloved LORD GOD uses The Book of Jeremiah, to still speak to us. HE forewarns us, as HE did Judah and Jerusalem, to listen, obey and serve HIM only. If we refuse to listen; refuse to repent of idolatry and willful sin in our lives; we too will suffer the penalty for sin (Rom 2:8, Eph 5:1-8, Col 3:5-6).

 The puppet governor Gedaliah

Gedaliah a Jew, was the son of Ahikam, and grandson Shaphan (Jer 43:6). Gedaliah’s father Ahikam, was among the men that king Josiah sent to inquire of inquire of The LORD for him concerning the words in The Book of The Law; which was found during the repair and restoration of the temple (Kin 22:13). King Nebuchadnezzar replaced king Zedekiah of Judah with Gedaliah to govern the cities of Judah for him (2 Kin 25:22, Jer 40:5).

All the Jews remaining in the land, and all those who had been scattered during king Nebuchadnezzar’s invasions heard Gedaliah, one of their own had been appointed governor. So the Jews went and sought refuge with Gedaliah (Jer 40:6-8, Jer 40:11-12). Gedaliah assured them, they did not need to be afraid of serving the Chaldeans/Babylonians (Jer 40:9). However, seven months after Gedaliah was appointed governor; Ishmael who belonged to the royal family of David, killed Gedaliah. Causing all the Jews to flee to Egypt out of fear (2 Kin 25:25-26, Jer 41:1-18).

It is critical in both our physical and spiritual life to always inquire of GOD, rather than trust in ourselves. In Proverbs 14:12, our Beloved LORD GOD tells us “there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end, is the way of death.” Gedaliah was warned that Ishmael had been sent by the king of Ammon to take his life, but he did not listen to the warning, and he did not inquire of GOD, so he was killed (Jer 40:13-16, Isa 41:1-2). Sadly Gedaliah, and eighty Jewish men, were murdered by Ishmael and his men (Jer 41:4-7).    

Cyrus king of Persia and his proclamation                                               

Our Beloved LORD GOD spoke through the mouth of HIS prophet Isaiah that Cyrus king of Persia, would rebuild Jerusalem, and lay the foundations of HIS temple (Isa 44:28, Isa 45:1-4). This prophecy was fulfilled more than 150 years later.

Cyrus had reigned over Persia and several other conquered nations for twenty-one years, when he captured Babylon from Darius the Mede (Dan 5:22-31). In his first year of reign over Babylon, The WORD of our GOD was fulfilled (2 Chr 36:22-23, Ezr 1:1). King Cyrus both issued a written decree, and sent out a proclamation throughout all of his kingdom, stating that any Jewish person in his kingdom who wanted to return to Judah, and assist in rebuilding GOD’s temple in Jerusalem, could go (Ezr 1:3). Additionally king Cyrus, called for neighbors of any returning Jew to support them with donations of gold, silver, goods, cattle, and freewill offerings (Ezr 1:4-6); and appointed a governor named Sheshbazzar, to return the gold and silver utensils to the temple in Jerusalem (Ezr 1:7-11, Ezr 5:13-17).    

Throughout the 2 Kings study, we have seen GOD’s WORD faithfully fulfilled. And in this study, though Cyrus did not know GOD, our GOD knew him (Isa 45:4-5) and called him by name (Isa 44:28, Isa 45:1), to carry out HIS purpose to rebuild Jerusalem, lay the foundation of the temple, and let the exiles go free (Isa 45:13). Just as our Beloved LORD GOD knew and loved us, before we knew HIM (Rom 5:8, Col 1:21-22). And we to have been called for a purpose (Rom 8:28).

When your days are complete, and you lie down with your fathers
I will raise up your descendant after you
WHO will come forth from you
And I will establish HIS Kingdom
HE shall build a house for MY NAME
And I will establish the throne of HIS Kingdom forever.
2 Samuel 7:12-13

Called By Name (2 Kings Chapters 22-23)

A Study in 2 KingsNow behold
There came a man of GOD from Judah to Bethel
By The WORD of The LORD
While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense
He cried against the altar by The WORD of The LORD
And said, “O altar, altar, thus says The LORD
Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David
Josiah by name
And on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places
Who burn incense on you
And human bones shall be burned on you.'”
1 Kings 13:1-2

In the study of 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23, we witness our GOD of Truth (Psa 31:5, Isa 65:16), WHO is literally our GOD of Faithfulness (Deu 32:4, Psa 119:90), continue to demonstrate HIS WORD is true. As reflected in the foundational Scriptures (1 Kin 13:1-2), our Beloved LORD GOD called Josiah by name, more than 300 years before he would be born, and stated a specific deed of devotion he would perform (2 Chr 35:26-27). Throughout this study, our GOD will allow us to attest the truthfulness of HIS WORD, through the life of Josiah.

The Prophecy

Our Beloved LORD GOD sent an unnamed prophet from Judah to Bethel speak HIS WORD against an abominable altar set up by the first king of the newly divided northern kingdom of Israel. King Jeroboam did not trust in GOD to keep his promises, so he trusted in himself (1 Kin 12:26-32). As king Jeroboam was offering incense at this abominable altar, the prophet came and cried out against the altar by The WORD of The LORD:

O altar, altar, thus says The LORD
Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David
Josiah by name
And on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places
Who burn incense on you
And human bones shall be burned on you

As previously stated, this prophecy was pronounced, more than three hundred years before Josiah was born. Our Beloved LORD GOD called him by name, announced what family he would be born into, and declared the actions he would carry out against the pagan altar at Bethel and the false priests who were serving there (1 Kin 13:1-2).

Has such a specific prophecy occurred before? Yes, numerous times before, and countless times after, even up to this present day. In fact numerous detailed prophecies were spoken about our Precious LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST before HIS birth (Gen 3:15, Deu 18:15-19, 2 Sam 7:12-13, Isa 9:6-7, Mat 1:18-21, Luk 1:26-33, Luk 24:44-48). Additionally, before the birth of any of the following men, our Beloved LORD GOD also called them by name, and declared their future: The two sons of Abraham, Ishmael (Gen 16:11-16), and Isaac (Gen 17:15-22, Gen 18:9-15). Cyrus, the king of Persia (Isa 44:28, Isa 45:1-7, 2 Chr 36:22-23, Jer 29:10-14), and John the Baptist (Luk 1:13, Luk 1:59-63).

Did GOD know such specific things about us, before we were born? Of course! HE is GOD (Deu 4:35, Isa 45:5), HE is our Creator (Isa 40:28, Isa 44:24), HE knows the end of things, before one thing has occurred (Isa 44:6-7, Isa 46:9-10). As such, before we were formed in our mother’s womb, HE knew us (Jer 1:5), HE knew where we would live (Act 17:26), HE knows the length of our life (Psa 139:16, Job 14:5), and HE knows the purpose we have been born for (Pro 16:4, Act 13:36, Rom 8:28).

 The Prophecy Begins Fulfillment               

When Josiah, a direct descendant of king David of Judah was born, the prophecy begin its fulfillment:

  • At eight years old, Josiah began his reign over Judah (2 Kin 22:1-2)
  • In the eighth year of his reign (sixteen years old), he began to seek to know GOD for himself (2 Chr 34:3)
  • In the twelfth year of his reign (twenty years old), he began to purge Judah, Jerusalem, and the house of the LORD GOD of idolatry (2 Chr 34:3-7)
  • By the eighteenth year of his reign (twenty-six years old), the purge of the land and the temple was completed; he then sent orders for the house of the LORD GOD to be restored and repaired (2 Chr 34:8-13, 2 Kin 22:3-7)
  • during restoration and repair of the temple, Hilkiah the high priest finds The Book of The Law given by Moses (2 Chr 34:14-17), Shaphan the scribe brings it to king Josiah and reads it in his presence (2 Kin 22:10, 2 Chr 34:18)

The Prophecy is Fulfilled

  • When king Josiah hears the words of The Book of The Law, he tore his clothes and wept (2 Kin 22:11, 2 Chr 34:19)
  • king Josiah sent a small group to inquire of The LORD concerning the words written in The Book of The Law about Judah and its inhabitants (2 Kin 22:12-13, 2 Chr 34:20-21)
  • Our LORD confirmed through HIS prophetess Huldah, HIS WORD would come to pass in the land and on its inhabitants because of their grave disobedience and idolatry. HE however would spare king Josiah, for his tender heart toward GOD (2 Kin 22:14-20, 2 Chr 34:22-28)
  • king Josiah renewed the covenant; he gathered the entire nation from the greatest to the least; both he and the nation made a covenant with our LORD to walk in whole-hearted obedience; which the nation did, during the entire lifetime of king Josiah (2 Kin 23:1-3, 2 Chr 34:29-33)
  • king Josiah reformed the nation, during which he fulfilled the prophecy concerning the altar in Bethel (2 Kin 23:4-20)
  • king Josiah reinstituted the Passover (2 Kin 23:21-23, 2 Chr 35:1-19)

With the fulfillment of GOD’s WORD concerning king Josiah of Judah, we continue to witness that our Beloved LORD GOD’s WORD will not fail (Isa 55:10-11), it will surely come to pass (2 Kin 22:1-2, 2 Kin 23:15-18). GOD alone sets times and epochs/seasons (Act 1:7), and only HE sets the appointed time for HIS WORD to come to pass (Dan 8:19, Mrk 13:32-33, Act 17:31, Gal 4:4)

Did king Josiah die after the prophecy was fulfilled? Not immediately, over the next thirteen years, he completed the restoration and repair of the temple, and reinstituted the Passover. After all this, he went out to engage Pharaoh Neco, the king of Egypt on the plain of Megiddo (2 Chr 35:22). Pharaoh just wanted to pass through Judah on his way to battle against the Babylonians, at Carchemish on the Euphrates river (2 Chr 35:20). He warned king Josiah to turn away from him, because he was on a mission from GOD (2 Chr 35:20-21), king Josiah ignored him, and was killed (2 Kin 23:29, 2 Chr 35:22-23 ). There is an important lesson here that we the people of GOD need to make careful note of; king Josiah had an intimate relationship with our Beloved LORD GOD (2 Chr 34:3). So when Pharaoh Neco told him that he was on a mission from GOD, he simply refused to listen to the Pharaoh, instead of inquiring of GOD (2 Chr 35:22). No matter how many years we have walked with our Holy GOD, we should never lean to our own understanding (Pro 3:5). Instead we should continue to pray about everything (Php 4:6, Luk 18:1, Eph 6:18).

The Beginning of the End

With king Josiah’s death, came the beginning of the end. Because he was a good and righteous king,  Jeremiah the prophet, and all of Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him (2 Chr 35:24-5, Jer 22:10). Soon after occupation, destruction, and exile began in the land of Judah and against its inhabitants, as spoken by the WORD of our Beloved LORD GOD (2 Kin 23:26-27). And then king Josiah’s three sons and grandsons became kings in Judah:

  • Jehoahaz was made king by the people of Judah upon his father’s death. But he was king for only three months, when Pharaoh Neco forcibly removed him from his throne (2 Chr 36:1-3); first imprisoning him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, located on the high road between Palestine and Babylon (2 Kin 23:30-33). Pharaoh Neco eventually moved king Jehoahaz into Egypt where he died (Jer 22:10-12).
  • Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim, another one of king Josiah’s son a puppet king; changing his name to Jehoiakim (2 Kin 23:34-36). Jehoiakim, his brother Zedekiah, and his nephew Jehoiachin will be discussed further in our final study in 2 Kings.

But now, thus says The LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
And HE who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are MINE!
Isaiah 43:1

The Most High GOD Rules (2 Kings Chapters 21)

A Study in 2 KingsYou will be driven from human society
To live with the wild animals
You will be made to eat grass like an ox
And be drenched with dew from the sky
As seven seasons pass over you
Until you learn that the Most HIGH
Rules in the human kingdom
And gives it to whomever HE pleases
Daniel 4:29
(Complete Jewish BIBLE Translation)

I am continually in awe of our Beloved LORD GOD. HE indeed brings us hope through instruction and encouragement of The Scriptures (Rom 15:4). HIS timing, which brings us to this lesson in 2 Kings chapter 21, is for such a time as this. In this study we are reminded, the choice of the next American president, or any leader, belongs only to GOD.

Many Christians think only Nebuchadnezzar was taken off his throne, until he realized WHO truly rules over mankind (Rom 13:1-2). In this study in 2 Kings chapter 21 and 2 Chronicles chapter 33, we will learn that king Manasseh of Judah, was also removed from his throne until he recognized WHO GOD alone is (2 Chr 33:11-16).

Though king Manasseh’s father, king Hezekiah was a righteous king (2 Kin 18:1-7), his son Manasseh was an extremely wicked king:

  • He did evil  in the sight of The LORD. Not only did he do evil according to the abominations of the nations whom The LORD had dispossessed before the sons of Israel (2 Kin 21:2), He seduced the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do even more evil (2 Kin 21:9, 2 Kin 21:11, Lev 18:24-30, Deu 9:4-5).
  • He rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed (2 Kin 21:3) He reestablished the worship of false idols on elevated pieces of ground.
  • He erected altars for Baal (2 Kin 21:3), a false male fertility god whose worship was rooted in sexual activity.
  • He made an Asherah and set it in the house of The LORD (2 Kin 21:3, 2 Kin 21:7), where he and the unrighteous nation of Judah carried out temple prostitution in the name of this false goddess known as “queen of heaven” (Jer 7:17-20).
  • He worshiped all the host of heaven and served them (2 Kin 21:3) and built altars for them in two courts of the House of The LORD (2 Kin 21:5) He practiced astrology in our GOD’s very house.
  • He built altars in the House of The LORD (2 Kin 21:4) He brought much idolatry into the Temple of GOD.
  • He made his son pass through the fire (2 Kin 21:6) He worshiped Molech, sacrificing both infants and children to the false god.
  • He practiced witchcraft and used divination (2 Kin 21:6) He practiced every form of sorcery.
  • He dealt with mediums and spiritists (2 Kin 21:6) He sought out psychics and those who talk with the dead for counseling, instead of seeking out The true and living GOD (Isa 8:19).
  • He shed so much innocent blood in Jerusalem, until he filled it from one end to another (2 Kin 21:16). Not only did king Manasseh murder innocent infants and children through child sacrifice, according to the Jewish historian, Josephus Flavius, king Manasseh brutally killed many righteous men of GOD, including the prophet Isaiah.

Because king Manasseh’s sins were so grave, and he led the whole nation of Judah into those sins, king Manasseh was captured by the Assyrians and brought bound into Babylon with a hook in his nose, and bronze chains on his body (2 Chr 33:11-13). King Manasseh suffered greatly in the Babylonian prison until out of distress, he pleaded with The LORD his GOD and humbled himself greatly before HIM. Our Beloved LORD GOD was moved by his pleading, heard his supplication, and returned him to his kingdom in Jerusalem. King Manasseh now knew that The LORD was indeed GOD, whereupon he truly repented, and performed deeds appropriate to repentance (2 Chr 33:14-16). He did this by:

  • making Jerusalem and the land of Judah secure, through building walls and placing armies in fortified cities (2 Chr 33:14)
  • cleansing the temple and purging Jerusalem of all the idolatry and altars (2 Chr 33:15)
  • re-establishing the worship of only The true GOD in Judah (2 Chr 33:16)

However, because king Manasseh’s sins were so horrendous, he was buried in a garden instead of the tombs of the kings (2 Kin 21:18). And our sovereign LORD GOD would not turn from HIS wrath against Judah because all king Manasseh had done, until HE removed them from the promise land (2 Kin 23:26-27, 2 Kin 24:3-4). This is an important lesson for each one of us. Though are sins are forgiven, there will still be consequences for them. We not only have this example with king Manasseh and the nation of Judah. But we have another example in king David. Though our Beloved LORD GOD forgave him for taking Uriah’s wife, and then murdering him, he and his family would still suffer the consequences of his sins (2 Sam chptrs 11-17).

This very sad 21st chapter of 2 Kings is closes with king Manasseh’s son Amon taking the throne upon his father’s death. However he learned nothing from his father’s divine punishment. Instead he followed in his father’s sinful ways, was murdered after only reigning 2 years, and buried in a grave next to his father (2 Kin 21:19-26).

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities
For there is no authority except from GOD
And those which exist are established by GOD
Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of GOD
And they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves
Romans 13:1-2

Having A Heart After GOD (2 Kings Chapters 18, 19, 20)

A Study in 2 KingsAfter HE had removed him
HE raised up David to be their king
Concerning whom HE also testified and said,
“I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all MY Will”
Acts 13:22

What made king David “a man after GOD’s heart”? David was a man who loved (Psa 18:1, Psa 132:1-5), trusted (1 Sam 17:1-51, Psa 21:7, Psa 28:7), and obeyed GOD (1 Kin 14:8, 1 Kin 15:5). David also sought GOD’s counsel (1 Sam 23:1-5, 1 Sam 30:3-10, 2 Sam 2:1-4, 1 Chr 14:8-17).

Where there any other kings in Israel that had a heart after GOD? Yes, there were two descendants of king David, who had hearts after GOD; king Hezekiah, and king Hezekiah’s great grandson king Josiah. We will study king Josiah later, but we will examine king Hezekiah now, through 2 Kings chapters 18-20, 2 Chronicles chapters 29-32, and Isaiah chapters 36-39.

Our Beloved LORD GOD gave witness of king Hezekiah’s heart, through HIS WORD. HE showed us, king Hezekiah had the following traits, signifying both a personal relationship with HIM, and heart fully given to do HIS Will. King Hezekiah of Judah:

  1. trusted in GOD (2 Kin 18:5, 2 Chr 32:7-8)
  2. listened to GOD, by clinging to HIM, and fully obeying HIM (2 Kin 18:6)
  3. reformed a nation according to GOD’s commandments (2 Chr chapters 29-31)
  4. talked with GOD (2 Kin 19:14-19, 2 Chr 32:14-20)
  5. sought GOD (2 Kin 19:1-7, 2 Chr 31:21)
  6. whole heartedly served GOD (2 Chr 31:20-21)
  7. GOD was with him (2 Kin 18:7)

These seven traits present in righteous king Hezekiah, should also be present in the righteous today. You might ask, “how could we reform a nation?” Your transformation by GOD’s WORD and HIS Holy SPIRIT (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:16-18), draws others to GOD where HE reforms lives (Mat 5:14-16, Jhn 4:39-42).

Can one today, really be a person after GOD’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14)? Yes, our JESUS is the same yesterday, as HE is today, as HE will be forever (Heb 13:8). And when your heart is filled with The SPIRIT of GOD (Jhn 14:23, Rom 8:9), your life will be fully surrendered to JESUS CHRIST (Rom 10:9, Luk 6:46-48, Act 5:32), causing you to be a person after GOD’s own heart. As evidenced by you:

  • actively living-in constant obedience to GOD (Psa 40:8, Psa 119:33-39, Psa 119:101-104, Jhn 4:34).
  • responding properly when confronted with sin (Gen 39:7-13, 1 Cor 6:18, Dan 3:8-18, Rev 12:11).
  • being drawn by GOD’s love (1 Jhn 4:19, Hos 11:3-4, Psa 73:25-26, SS 1:4), and holiness (Exd 15:11, Isa 6:1-7, 1 Pet 1:15-16).

Did king David and king Hezekiah leave any other legacies? Yes, they both lived miraculous lives of faith in GOD. King David had three distinct battles, where GOD fought on his behalf. First, the Philistine giant Goliath, was defeated by king David, who came against Goliath, in The NAME of The LORD, one slingshot, and five smooth stones (1 Sam 17:31-50). Second, GOD HIMSELF and the angel army fought against and defeated the Philistines on behalf of king David and his army (2 Sam 5:22-25). Third, when Absalom led Israel in battle against his father king David, the forest killed more people that day than the sword (2 Sam 18:8). King Hezekiah’s faith in GOD, also brought victory over an Assyrian army and its king, without he or his army personally engaging in battle (2 Kin 19:32-37, 2 Chr 32:1-23).

 Were king David and king Hezekiah continually obedient? No, only our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST continually walked in obedience (Jhn 4:34, Jhn 8:29, Heb 4:15, 1 Pet 2:22, 1 Jhn 3:5).

The legacy of king David includes two grave sins; one where the upright man Uriah was murdered, because king David lusted after and impregnated Uriah’s wife (2 Sam 11:1-27, 2 Sam 12:1-25); two, king David’s pride caused him to take a census of the fighting men of Israel. Putting his trust in their numbers, instead of GOD (1 Chr 21:1-30).

The legacy of king Hezekiah was marred, when our Beloved LORD GOD extended his life for fifteen more years, he became arrogant instead of humbling himself in gratitude (2 Kin 20:1-11, 2 Chr 32:24-26).

In conclusion, we remind you once again that our Beloved LORD GOD tells us in Romans 15:4 “for whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” What more can we learn from king David and king Hezekiah, two men with a heart after GOD? Both men were bold (2 Sam 22:1-51, 2 Chr 32:1-8). As stated in Proverbs 28:1, “the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” The English word “bold” is transliterated from the Hebrew word “batach” (OT:982) and it means to be secure, confident, sure, reliant, trusting. This boldness only comes with an intimate relationship with our faithful, all powerful GOD (Pro 3:32, Jhn 14:21, 1 Jhn 1:5-7). And because of HIM and our confidence in HIM, and HIS WORD we do not run from our enemies we chase them (Lev 26:7-8); we do not fall, we stand (1 Cor 16:13, Eph 6:10-11); we do not give up, we endure (Jam 1:2-4).  

For The LORD will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught
Proverbs 3:26

Refused, Removed, Adulterated (2 Kings Chapter 17)

A Study in 2 Kings2 Kings Chapter 17 records the fulfillment of GOD’s WORD to send the northern kingdom of Israel into exile, because of their continual wickedness. Over and over, our Beloved LORD GOD sent HIS prophets, to Israel calling them to repentance (2 Kin 17:13), but they refused to listen, and turn from their evil ways (2 Kin 17:14-17). Finally, GOD fulfilled HIS promise and removed Israel from the promise land, sending them into Assyrian exile (2 Kin 17:6).

As we examine 2 Kings Chapter 17, not only will we see Israel refuse to obey GOD, until HE removed them from HIS land (Deu 11:8-12), but we will be introduced to different races of people who are exiled into Samaria (2 Kin 17:24). These people became known as the very Samaritans who exist even today, living in the West Bank. These foreign people adulterated the worship of GOD, as they continued to worship their own gods, while learning to honor our GOD, in order to appease HIM (2 Kin 25-33).

Refused (2 Kin 17:7-17, 2 Kin 17:34-40)

The people in the nation of Israel were not willing to obey The LORD GOD, and their numerous sins were great against HIM. The people in Israel:

  • practiced idolatry by honoring and serving other gods:
    • two molten calves of gold (introduced by king Jeroboam, 1 Kin 12:26-30)
    • made an Asherah, a Assyrian fertility idol
    • served a Canaanite idol, Baal
    • sacrificed their children to Molech (false god of Amon), by burning them alive
    • worshiped all the host of heaven
    • built for themselves high places in all their towns, and on every high hill and under every green tree
    • burned incense on all the high places as the wicked nations before them
  • did things secretly which were not right against The LORD their GOD (2 Kin 17:9, Psa 94:7, Isa 29:15, Eze 8:6-12)
  • provoked The LORD, by doing evil in HIS sight (Isa 65:2-3)

Though our Beloved LORD GOD continually warned Israel and Judah through all HIS prophets, “Turn from your evil ways and keep MY commandments, MY statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through MY servants the prophets.” They refused to listen, refused to repent, and refused to obey (2 Kin 17:13-15, 2 Kin 17:34-40, Jer 7:25-26).

How does GOD instruct Christians today, concerning Israel’s refusal? Let us began by citing two truths from The BIBLE. First truth, using the new living translation, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now” (Ecc 1:9-11). Second truth, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction; so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope” (Rom 15:4). Both the Israelites of yesterday, and Christians today are GOD’s people (Deu 14:2, 1 Pet 2:9-10). And the behavior of our brethren the Israelites, serves as a witness to those of us today. Each one of us, must examine ourselves in light of Scripture, and ask ourselves the following questions.

  • Are there idols in my life, that I am I clinging to? (Php 3:19, Col 3:5)
  • Is there anyone or anything, I love more than I love GOD? (Job 23:12, Mat 10:37, Php 3:7-8)
  • What things do I refuse to repent of, or turn away from? (Isa 30:15, Heb 12:25)
  • What things keep me from fully obeying GOD? ? (Psa 119:34, 1 Tim 1:9-10, Tit 2:12)
  • What things which furnish no benefit to my soul, can I easily indulge in for hours, while having a hard time spending at least one hour with GOD? (Gal 6:7-8)
  • What ways am I willfully disobeying GOD’s WORD? (Luk 9:23, 1 Cor 15:33-34, 1 Jhn 2:15-16, Jam 4:4)
  • Am I knowingly not doing the right things? (Jam 4:17, 1 Kin 11:38)
  • Am I knowingly doing things the wrong things? (Gal 2:18, Heb 10:26, 2 Pet 2:20)

Additionally:

  • Is there something our Beloved LORD GOD keeps warning you about?
  • Do you keep hearing the same message over, and over, and over, and over?
  • Do you notice things are getting more difficult in your life?
  • Do you serve JESUS to please HIM, or to appease HIM?

Removed (2 Kin 17:1-6, 2 Kin 17:18-23)

From the time Israel came out of Egypt as one nation, our patient and merciful GOD spoke to them about obedience, called them to repentance, and warned them about the consequences of their sin (Jer 7:22-26, 2 Kin 17:7-20, Jer 7:29-34). But they refused to listen (2 Kin 17:34-40), and refused to take correction (Jer 7:27-28). Consequently, our Beloved LORD GOD removed them from both HIS sight (2 Kin 17:18), and HIS land that flowed with milk and honey (Exd 3:7-9). HE chose Shalmaneser, king of Assyria to carry the nation of Israel from the promised land to exile in Assyria (2 Kin 17:3-6, 2 Kin 17:23). HE would later send Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon to remove Judah into Babylonian exile (2 Kin 17:19, 2 Kin 24:10-16).

Our Beloved LORD GOD is speaking to many Christians today concerning obedience, repentance, and the consequences of their sin (Eze 18:20-32, Rom 2:5-8). But they like the Israelites refuse to listen (Jer 7:27-28, 2 Kin 17:34-40); and sadly, will eventually be removed from both HIS sight, and eternal life (Mat 7:21-23, Mat 25:8-12, Mat 25:41, Luk 13:22-27).

How do you know “many” Christians today are refusing to listen? First and foremost, JESUS HIMSELF told us beforehand “many” Christians for different reasons would refuse to listen to HIM, accept HIS correction, or obey HIM. We will discuss further who these many Christians are, but we will first stop and define the word “many”. It is an English word that has been transliterated from the Greek word “polloús” (NT:4183) and it means multitude, numerous, majority. So according to the word of our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST the majority of those who:

  1. once followed HIM will fall away (begin to distrust and desert HIM); they will abandon their faith in JESUS and obedience to HIS WORD because of affliction, persecution, and deception (Mat 13:20-21, Mat 24:10-12, 2 Ths 2:10-11, 1 Tim 4:1).
  2. call HIM “Lord” (Mat 7:22), professing to know HIM and have a relationship with HIM, as evidenced by their ministry in HIS NAME (Mat 7:21). However, HE will profess that HE never knew them. And HE will remove them from HIS presence (Mat 7:23). JESUS is truly LORD, to only those who obey HIM (Luk 6:46). HE also emphasizes in 1 John 2:3-6, those who truly know HIM are those who obey HIS WORD.
  3. appear to still know HIM (Mat 25:1-12); they look like virgins (undefiled by the world), waiting for HIS return. But there is no oil in their lamps, The Holy SPIRIT of GOD is missing from their souls. One of the symbols of the Holy SPIRIT in the Scripture is oil, which was used for anointing. We see Aaron set apart for the service of high priest to GOD, by anointing him with oil (Exd 29:7, Lev 8:12, Psa 133:2). Our Precious JESUS was anointed with The Holy SPIRIT of our Beloved LORD GOD as HE fulfilled HIS mission here on earth (Isa 61:1, Act 10:38). And we who obey, are anointed with HIS Holy SPIRIT (Act 5:32, 1 Jhn 2:27↔Jhn 14:26). But just as HIS Holy SPIRIT left the temple in Jerusalem when it was defiled (Eze 8:1-18, Eze 9:3, Eze 10:4, Eze 10:18-19, Eze 11:22-23), HE will depart from those who refuse to obey; who refuse to repent (1 Sam 16:14, Psa 51:11-12).
  4. think they know JESUS because they think they had fellowship with HIM, “We ate and drank in YOUR presence, and YOU taught in our streets”; they attended Church, Bible studies, small groups, and hung out with other Christians; yet HE will say to them “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.” (Luk 13:22-28). Our Precious JESUS tells us that true fellowship with HIM is reflected in how we conduct our hidden lives (1 John 1:5-7, Psa 51:6).

 Adulterated (2 Kin 17:32-33, 2 Kin 17:41)

After Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, carried the nation of Israel into Assyrian exile (2 Kin 17:3-6); he brought men he had conquered from five other nations and settled them in the cities of Samaria. The people of these foreign nations brought their idolatry into the promised land, causing idolatry in our GOD’s land to continue; HE sent lions among them. In response, the Assyrian king sent a Levitical priest to teach the foreigners the ways of our LORD (2 Kin 17:28). Instead of learning HIS ways and serving HIM only, they served HIM, while continuing to serve their own false gods. Thus adulterating the worship of the true GOD in the promise land.

Please define “adulterating”? To adulterate, means to corrupt, contaminate, dilute with a lesser quality. This very day many of GOD’s people walk in an adulterated manner. They serve both JESUS and their modern-day idols of money (Mat 6:24), relationships (Luk 14:26-27), or desires for things of the world (1 Jhn 2:15-17). These are apostate believers who hold to a form of godliness, but do not walk obediently (2 Tim 3:5, Tit 1:16, 1 Jhn 2:4), because they do not want to hear GOD’s WORD (2 Tim 4:3-4). These once faithful Christians have become contaminated by unfaithfulness (Deu 32:5, Jer 3:21), corrupted with sin (Deu 31:29, Psa 14:3). Some might be thinking these last set of Old Testament Scriptures have nothing to do with the Christian today, but as previously mentioned we must consider Romans 15:4, and know that our Beloved LORD GOD has told us that all Scripture is inspired by GOD and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).

The Israelites who came out of Egypt did not enter the promise land because their unbelief in GOD, led to their continual disobedience (Psa 78:22, Heb 3:18). And we will suffer that same fate (unable to enter an eternity in the presence of our GOD), if we do not remain obedient and keep our faith in our LORD JESUS until the very end (Mat 24:13, Rev 14:12). the As we close, let us consider the following diagram:

Something to Consider diagram

The Wall Between Us

Standing before a brick wall abstractBut your iniquities
have made a separation
between you and your GOD
Isaiah 59:2

Have you been waiting and waiting for an answer(s) from GOD? Are you asking the questions Job asked in the midst of his suffering (Job 6:11), “What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure? Do you feel like your prayers keep hitting a brick wall? And what is your frame of mind as you wait, are you waiting in despair, or are you waiting in expected hope?

What would cause someone to feel despair why waiting, versus someone who remains expectant in their hope? The one who waits in despair does not have a personal relationship with GOD. They may truly feel they know GOD because of their activities (Church attendance, BIBLE study, and Prayer), yet they do not trust GOD. The one who remains expectant in their hope, is the one whose life is completely dependent on CHRIST.

Please explain what causes the difference between the two?

The one who waits in despair usually has the following four characteristics. This person:

  1. Misunderstands GOD. They do not have a correct view of GOD (Job 42:7), they believe HE condones their sinful lifestyle (Psa 50:16-21), or they see HIM in a harsh light (Mat 25:18, Mat 25:24-30).
  2. Wrong Focus. They are focused on self, either concerned about basic needs (Luk 12:29-30), or satisfying pleasures (Jam 4:3).
  3. Doubts. They are fearful HE will answer, causing them to be double-minded, going back and forth between belief and unbelief (Jam 1:6-8), they are not sure GOD can answer their prayer (Mrk 9:22-23), they choose to trust in someone or something other than GOD (Psa 146:3, Isa 45:20).
  4. Unrepentant sin in their life (Jhn 9:31, Mic 3:4, Pro 1:28-30), is the reason their prayers feel like they are hitting a brick wall (immovable obstacle, hinderance to progression).

The one who remains expectant in their hope usually:

  1. Knows GOD. HE has given them a heart to know HIM (Jer 24:7), HE is their Shepherd (Gen 48:15, Psa 23:1, Jhn 10:14).
  2. Right Focus. They are focused on GOD alone (Psa 123:2, Psa 130:5-6, Mic 7:7), because they know HE is where their help comes from (Psa 121:1-2).
  3. No Wavering. They fully trust GOD (Rom 4:20, Psa 26:1, Heb 10:23), as they have experienced HIS faithfulness (1 Ths 5:24, 2 Tim 2:13).
  4. Confidence. They know HIM, they know HIS WORD, they know HIS Will, and they keep HIS WORD (1 Jhn 5:14-15, 1 Jhn 3:22), so they know their prayers will be answered, in HIS perfect timing (Mat 7:7-11).

Will GOD never hear the prayer of a sinner? Remember the “brick wall” is unrepentant sin (Isa 1:15-16), so our Beloved LORD GOD is waiting on you (2 Chr 7:14). If you acknowledge your sin (Psa 32:5), confess that sin (1 Jhn 1:9), seek reconciliation by seeking to be in HIS presence (Psa 105:4), ; or turning from your wicked ways, back to HIM (Eze 18:30-32); the “brick wall” will come down; and HE will hear and answer prayers that line up with HIS Will (1 Jhn 5:14), forgive your sins by taking your wrongdoings away (Psa 32:1-2), and bringing healing to your heart (Psa 41:4) and your life (Jer 33:6-8).

Answers to John chapter 11

Lazarus+coming+out+of+the+graveNow a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany
The village of Mary and her sister Martha.
John 11:1

Here are just a few questions you should prayerfully consider when studying the aforementioned passage:

  1. John 11:1 mentions Lazarus, Mary, and her sister Martha:
    • What is Lazarus relationship with Mary and Martha? Lazarus is the brother of sister Mary and Martha.
    • What passages state this relationship? There are six passages of Scripture that state the relationship (John 11:2, John 11:19, John 11:21, John 11:23, John 11:32, John 11:39).

2. Why does John 11:2 mention what Mary did for our Precious JESUS? There are two answers. The first reason is found in Matthew 26:13, and Mark 14:9:

Truly I say to you
Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world
What this woman has done
Will also be spoken of in memory of her

The second reason in found at John 11:2 (we will discuss it in further detail at the next question).

  1. How many times and on what occasions did Mary anoint our LORD with oil, and wipe HIS feet with her hair? Mary anointed our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST with oil three times, but only two of the three times did she wipe HIS feet with her hair. All three times Mary anointed our LORD with oil is in the following chronological order with details:
    1. (Luk 7:36-50)
      1. she was the unnamed sinner in Bethany, who brought an alabaster vial of perfume (Luk 7:37)
      2. kneeling behind JESUS, she kissed HIS feet, as she anointed them with perfume (Luk 7:38)
      3. in her love and repentance she wept continually, covering JESUS feet with her tears, wiping them away with her hair (Luk 7:38)
      4. she was at the home of the critical, inhospitable Pharisee (Luk 7:36, Luk 7:39-47)
      5. JESUS forgave her sins (Luk 7:48-50)
      6. JESUS later identified her (Jhn 11:2)
    2. (Jhn 12:1-19)
      1. six days before the Passover, JESUS had dinner at Mary, Martha, and Lazarus home (Jhn 12:1-2)
      2. this occurred after HE had raised Lazarus from the dead (Jhn 12:1, Jhn 12:9-11)
      3. in her love and gratitude, Mary anointed the feet of JESUS a second time with perfume (Jhn 12:3)
      4. this second time Mary did not weep, as she anointed the feet of JESUS; but she once again used her hair to wipe his feet; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume (Jhn 12:3)
      5. this caused Judas Iscariot to question why was the costly perfume not sold and given to the poor (Jhn 12:4-5); Judas Iscariot had no love for our Beloved LORD JESUS, and no concern for the poor, he was a thief and only cared about himself (Jhn 12:6)
    3. (Mat 26:1-13, Mrk 14:1-8)
      1. two days before the Passover, JESUS was having dinner at the home of Simon the leper in Bethany (Mat 26:1-6, Mrk 14:1-3)
      2. this third time, Mary broke the alabaster vial (Mrk 14:3), and anointed the head of JESUS with the costly perfume it contained (Mat 26:7, Mrk 14:3)
      3. this final time, Mary was anointing HIS body beforehand for the burial (Mat 26:12, Mrk 14:8)
      4. this third anointing of JESUS by Mary, was more than Judas Iscariot could stand; he became indignant (Mat 26:8-9, Mrk 14:4-5); left and went to the chief priests our Beloved SAVIOR’s enemies (Mat 20:17-19, Mat 26:59, Mrk 14:10-11) to make a deal to betray HIM for the price of a slave (Mat 26:14-16, Mrk 14:10-11, Exd 21:32, Zec 11:12-13, Mat 27:3-30) 
  1. How did JESUS feel about Lazarus, Mary, and Martha? HE loved them (Jhn 11:5).
  1. Why did HE wait two days before going to heal Lazarus? JESUS was not going to heal Lazarus, HE was going to raise him from the dead. By waiting two days, JESUS knew:
    • because Lazarus was in the tomb for four days (Jhn 11:17), no one would doubt he was truly dead (Jhn 11:39)
    • resurrecting Lazarus from the tomb was a much greater miracle than restoring him from a sick bed. This powerful miracle would confirm HE truly was The SON of GOD, doing the works of HIS Heavenly FATHER (Jhn 10:34-38, Jhn 11:4)
    • many Jews who witnessed the miracle of Lazarus’s resurrection, believed that GOD had sent HIM, and begin to believe in HIM (Jhn 11:41-45) 
  1. If JESUS only waited two days before going to heal Lazarus, why was he dead for four days when JESUS arrived? Where JESUS was located at a place beyond the Jordan (Jhn 10:40, Mat 19:1), which took one day to walk from Bethany, and one day to walk to Bethany. So two days of traveling (walking 20-26 miles per day) and two days of waiting, is four days. Essentially, Lazarus was already dead when the messenger arrived (Jhn 11:3). 
  1. Where is Judea located? Judea is the Greco-Roman name for Judah. Under the Romans, in the time of CHRIST, it denoted the southernmost of the three divisions of Palestine (Matt 2:1-6, Mat 3:1-6, Mat 4:25). 
  1. The disciples objected to JESUS going to Judea, why? The Jews in Jerusalem were seeking to stone JESUS, because they accused HIM of blasphemy (Jhn 10:22-33, Jhn 10:39, Jhn 11:7-8).
  1. JESUS gave three answers to their objections, what were they and what did HE mean? The three answers JESUS gave to HIS disciples objections about going back to Jerusalem were:
    1. “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” We must work while it day (Jhn 9:4). As long as we have breath, we should be doing the will of GOD.
    2. “If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” As long as we are doing The FATHER’s will, we are safe, as we are walking in HIS Light (Jhn 9:5, Psa 23:4, Psa 3:5-6, Psa 27:1-3).
    3. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” Lazarus had died, and JESUS was going to resurrect him from the dead (Jhn 11:11-14), by calling him from the tomb (Jhn 11:43-44).
  1. Who is Thomas Didymus? He is one of the twelve disciples/apostles that our Beloved LORD JESUS chose after praying all night long (Luk 6:12-15). His name “Didymus” signified he was a twin. Why did he make such a statement? Either Thomas was being facetious (treating a serious issue with deliberate inappropriate humor), or he had a deep love for our LORD JESUS CHRIST and felt that returning to Jerusalem would be certain death. But he was unwilling for our LORD JESUS to do it alone. But either way, Thomas still faithfully followed our LORD JESUS.
  1. What did JESUS mean in John 11:25 that HE is the resurrection and the life? When we truly have faith in JESUS, our newness of life, our eternal life begins right here and now. We are no longer dead in our sins, even if we die physically, we live spiritually. And when we live spiritually, we will never die eternally (Rom 6:4-5, Jhn 12:50, Jhn 17:3)
  2. Why did JESUS weep, since HE knew HE would raise Lazarus from the dead? Our Precious JESUS CHRIST is the visible image of our Beloved invisible GOD (Col 1:15). So HIS every action, HIS whole being reflect our GOD. And our GOD is love (1 Cor 4:8), gracious and compassionate (Psa 116:5). HE cares for us (1 Pet 5:7), HE grieves when we sin (Psa 78:40-41), HE sympathizes with our weakness (Heb 4:15), and HE both rejoices (Zep 3:17) and weeps (Rom 12:15) with us.

A Lesson in Studying The WORD

True BIBLE Study

For Ezra had set his heart to study The LAW of The LORD
And to practice It
And to teach HIS Statutes and Ordinances in Israel
Ezra 7:10

Ezra was a scribe who was very knowledgeable in the law of Moses (Ezr 7:6), and set his heart to study, practice, and teach The WORD of GOD to Israel. In this lesson, we want to teach you how to study The WORD of GOD.  

What does it mean to study The WORD of GOD? To fully answer the question the word “study” must be defined, and then compared to the word “read”. Why, because each one of us should be studying GOD’s WORD not merely reading it. Reading through short devotions are fine, but studying GOD’s WORD is a must. I recently read an interesting article “Difference Between Studying and Reading” written by Evah Kungu on June 4, 2018, on the  www.differencebetween.net site. The article seemed very redundant to me, but had good insight. I have taken highlights from the article, shored-up definitions using both the English and Hebrew languages, and adjusted the diagram accordingly.

Both studying and reading are familiar terms within the learning process. Both are required, and are inter-dependent, e.g. reading helps with studying. These two processes, however, differ in performance and nature as defined below:

  • Studying is the process of fully concentrating and devoting ample time to a particular subject, in order to fully understand an array of topics within that subject:
    • it requires devotion of time and attention to
    • it is a detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation
  • Reading is the process of going through a topic within a given subject in order to gain information from it:
    • it requires acquiring information about a subject
    • perusing through texts to understand the concepts and meanings within the subject

Study versus Read

With these definitions in mind, please carefully read through John 11:1-57. Make notes in a journal what GOD spoke to your heart as you read through this passage. Next please, prayerfully study John 11:1-57, by answering the following questions. The answers will be provided in two weeks.

Here are just a few questions you should prayerfully consider when studying the aforementioned passage:

  1. John 11:1 mentions Lazarus, Mary and her sister Martha:
      1. What is Lazarus relationship with Mary and Martha?
      2. What passages state this relationship?
  2. Why does John 11:2 mention what Mary did for our Precious JESUS?
  3. How many times and on what occasions did Mary anoint our LORD with oil? How many times and for what reasons did she wipe HIS feet with her hair?
  4. How did JESUS feel about Lazarus, Mary, and Martha?
  5. Why did HE wait two days before going to heal Lazarus?
  6. If JESUS only waited two days before going to heal Lazarus, why was he dead for four days when JESUS arrived?
  7. Where is Judea located?
  8. The disciples objected to JESUS going to Judea, why?
  9. JESUS gave three answers to their objections, what were they and what did HE mean?
  10. Who is Thomas Didymus? Why did he make such a statement?
  11. What did JESUS mean in John 11:25 that HE is the resurrection and the life?
  12. Why did JESUS weep, since HE knew HE would raise Lazarus from the dead?

Walking By Sight


Walking by SightThus The LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians
And Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore
When Israel saw the great power which The LORD had used against the Egyptians
The people feared The LORD
And they believed in The LORD and in HIS servant Moses
Exodus 14:30-31

The same Israelites who were in awe of The LORD and believed in both HIM and HIS servant Moses (Exd 14:31); sang HIS praises (Exd 15:1-19); danced before HIM with joy (Exd 15:20-21); and believed in HIS WORDS (Psa 106:12); because they saw the great power HE used against the dead Egyptians on the seashore (Exd 14:30-31). Quickly forget HIM and all HE did for them (Psa 106:13, Psa 106:19-22). This congregation in the wilderness walked by sight until the very end.

 Despite all our Beloved LORD GOD did for the Israelite wilderness congregation, and all the signs HE performed in their midst, they quickly forgot HIM, HIS WORDS, and HIS miracles. This congregation forgot to the point, they did not give HIM honor, nor continue to believe in HIM (Num 14:11). Sadly, that is still true today, of many professing Christians (and yes, I use the term “professing Christians” because our LORD tells us in Tit 1:16, there are those who profess to know HIM, but how they live, denies they belong to HIM).

As true followers of JESUS CHRIST, we have been called to live our lives, through faith in HIM (2 Cor 5:7). We should not be living our lives according to what we see, or what we believe we know; for the seen is temporal, and our understanding is limited. Instead, we should be living our lives focused on the unseen, the eternal things (2 Cor 4:18). That was a mouthful, what does it mean? It means that Christians are not guided by what we see, but we are guided by trusting in our unseen GOD and HIS eternal WORD.

When one is walking by sight, they:

  • Live based upon how things appear, feel, or seem
  • Rely upon their own instincts instead of GOD’s WORD
  • Make decisions based on self-interest rather than GOD’s commands
  • Are concerned with the present rather than the eternal
  • Reject any advice that does not agree with their own logic
  • Suspect the motives of others
  • Will live lives unable to see when good comes, (Jer 17:6)

How does one know when they are walking by sight? If you need GOD “to show you, then you will trust HIM” you are walking by sight. A person who needs GOD to show them, before they will trust HIM, is a person who will trust HIM for the moment, and quickly return to unbelief. The Israelite wilderness congregation were such people, unable to enter into GOD’s rest (Heb 3:16-19).

How does one know when they are walking by faith? A person who has not seen HIM, but loves HIM; does not see HIM now, yet still believes in HIM; is a person walking by faith. This person is full of peace regardless of the circumstances; always grateful; filled with a joy too strong to be described or conveyed in words (1 Pet 1:8, 1 Ths 5:18, Jhn 14:27). This person has complete faith in GOD, their trust in HIM does not waver in circumstances; their mind is steadfast; and their heart stays in perfect peace (Isa 26:3). A person who walks by faith is blessed (Psa 84:12, Jer 17:7), has answered prayers (1 Chr 5:20), and is helped (Psa 28:7).  Abraham was such a man (Gen 22:1-18, Rom 4:13-22).

Is there any hope for a person who is walking by sight? Yes, if that person truly seeks to know GOD (Jer 29:13) and is willing to listen to HIS Words (Mrk 9:7-8, Jhn 6:60-68), HE will cause their faith to grow. But for those who refuse to turn from living ungodly lives, they will never come to a place of faith in JESUS, and trust in GOD.

Is there an example in the BIBLE where a person went from “walking by sight” to “walking by faith”? Yes, our Beloved LORD GOD gave us that example in Thomas Didymus. He was one of our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST’s twelve disciples who faithfully followed our JESUS, expressing his opinion (Jhn 11:14), voicing his questions (Jhn 14:5), and stating the proof he needed that our LORD had risen (Jhn 20:25).  

And though you have not seen HIM
You love HIM
And though you do not see HIM now
But believe in HIM
You greatly rejoice with
Joy inexpressible and full of glory
Obtaining as the outcome of your faith
The salvation of your souls
1 Peter 1:8-9