Day 223: Hezekiah

2 Chronicles 29-32

Key Verses

2 Chronicles 30:9
“For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”

2 Chronicles 32:26
But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

The Chronicler devotes more words to Hezekiah than to any other post-Solomonic king. Unlike the parallel account in 2 Kings which focuses mainly on Hezekiah’s conflict with Sennacherib, the Chronicler chooses to highlight Hezekiah’s religious reforms and his celebration of the Passover.

The Chronicler was writing to the post-exilic community in the hopes that they would learn valuable lessons from the good and the bad of their history. Therefore, Hezekiah is presented as a “second Solomon” who enjoyed great wealth and favor with God because of his religious faithfulness.

But there is so much more to Hezekiah’s story. He was a faithful man – but he was also flawed. Before the conflict with Sennacherib, in the height of his glorious reign, Hezekiah became prideful. So God orchestrated the circumstances in Hezekiah’s life to bring about repentance. Hezekiah was struck with an illness, and the prophet, Isaiah, brought a message from God saying that Hezekiah would die.

This was God’s grace. This was Hezekiah’s chance to repent.

Consider David. He was not perfect, but he repented for the wrongs he committed and God pardoned him by His grace.

How many kings started off well and then become prideful during their reigns? Too many! In each instance, God gave them the opportunity to repent, and most of them chose to walk away from Him in pride.

Humility is not for the faint of heart. Repentance is not an easy pill to swallow. But it is the way that leads to life.

Hezekiah chose repentance. His life was extended 15 years and he was given the opportunity to lead his nation in one of the greatest shows of faith recorded in the pages of the Bible. His faith in God against the sure destruction by the Assyrian ruler, Sennacherib, was glorious.

Hezekiah struggled with his sin nature just like the rest of us, but when God offered grace, he seized it. He grabbed it and held on as if his life depended on it. …Because his life did depend on it! And so does ours. Let us not let go of the grace that is our salvation!! We must walk in the way of the humble… we must walk in repentance and faith.

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Day 135: The Lamb of God

Proverbs 22-23; John 1:29-51

Key Verses

Proverbs 22:17-19
Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.

John 1:32; 34
And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. …And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

In today’s New Testament reading, John, the disciple, gives us gives us an insider’s view of Jesus’ first meeting with himself and the other future disciples, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael.

When Nathanael first meets Jesus, he says to Him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Nathanael’s calling Jesus “King” reveals his expectations that Jesus would overthrow the Roman government and make Israel the most powerful nation on earth. All of the disciples expected this.

But John the Baptist saw something different in Jesus. He says twice in this passage, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” This is an astonishing statement!  By calling Jesus, “The Lamb of God,” John the Baptist was connecting Jesus to the Passover Lamb, which automatically conjured up images of sacrifice and death. Somehow, John the Baptist knew Jesus would be sacrificed as the final Passover Lamb. How else would He “take away the sins of the world” (vs. 29)?

Jesus was not what the Jewish nation expected. We have the luxury of hindsight and know why the Messiah had to suffer and die. We know that He is both the Lion and the Lamb! He established his spiritual Kingdom on earth through his humble Sacrifice. And because He is our King, He deserves our worship and praise!

Day 26: The Passover Lamb

Exodus 11-12; Matthew 18:7-35

Key Verses

Matthew 18:14
So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Genesis 15:13-14
Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

Today, we see God’s word to Abraham come true. After nine horrible plagues, God gives Moses instructions to prepare the people for the final plague. This is it. The people are to prepare a lamb, mark their doorposts with its blood and eat the lamb “girded with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste” (Exodus 11:11). It’s time to move. The blood of the lamb protected the people from God’s destroyer who came and killed the firstborn of each house without the blood. Many Egyptians died that night.

The Passover is riddled with symbolism. The symbols serve to remind the people and the coming generations of the Lord’s power and faithfulness in rescuing them from Egypt’s oppression. But the symbols serve a deeper purpose… They point forward to the Lamb of God, Jesus, who was sacrificed to rescue us from our sins.

Consider the detail found in the passage:

  • The Lamb
    Lamb will be without blemish (12:5)
    When to kill and eat the lamb (12:6;8)
    How to cook and eat the lamb (12:8-10)
    The lamb’s bones should remain unbroken (12:46).
  • The Blood
    Where and how to put the blood (12:7; 22)
    Protective work of the blood (12:13; 23)
  • The Bread
    Unleavened bread (12:8; 34)
  • The Feast
    A memorial of the Exodus (12:14-20)
    It is to be remembered from generation to generation (12:24-28).
  • Provision for the Foreigner
    Some Egyptians left with the Israelites (12:38).
    The foreigner must be circumcised to eat the Passover (12:43-44; 48-49).

God instituted the Feast of Unleavened Bread so that on the 14th day of the first month of every year, the Israelites would gather and commemorate the night that God’s destroyer “passed over” their families so that they could escape from Egypt in the darkness.

Instead of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we look forward to a later day when people from every tribe, people and language will worship together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19). At that feast, the bread will have risen to its fullest and instead of haste, there will be an eternity to linger… in the presence of our Passover Lamb!

Day 348: The Scroll & The Lamb

Joel 1-3Revelation 5

Revelation 5 opens with a question…

Who has the authority to open the scroll??

Jesus is the only one who can open the scroll. He is the Lion of Judah (Gen 49:9) and the Root of David (Isa. 11:1,10; Jer. 23:5-6). He is slain lamb who was foreshadowed by both the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) and Isaiah’s suffering servant (Isaiah 53). Jesus, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, came and stood in the center of the throne and took the scroll from God.

What is the importance of the scroll??

Dr. Paul Gardner gives this answer, “As we shall see later, the content of the scroll concerns God’s whole plan of salvation and judgment for this earth from the cross through to the final culmination of his purposes in the new heavens and the new earth.”

He goes on to say,

“This lamb, with all the marks of his death upon him, is in fact standing and has the great figures of heaven in attendance. The lamb has horns indicating his strength and power, and his eyes are looking everywhere as his Spirit searches out his people, saving them and protecting them.” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg 84).

John’s description of Jesus in the throne room of God is a visual representation of the gospel!! And if John’s descriptions of Jesus weren’t enough to convince you of His divinity, the response of those within the heavenly throne room prove without a doubt, that Jesus is Divine. For as Revelation 4 culminated in the worship of the Father, so does Revelation 5 end with the worship of both the Father and the Son.

This is the backdrop of the appalling judgment to be described in the scrolls. Judgment comes only to those who refuse the sacrifice of the Lamb – who was judged in our stead. Judgment comes to vindicate the suffering church – who suffers for the glory of the Son!

The book of Joel describes a final judgment day, “the day of the Lord,” when Jesus will come to judge the earth (Joel 2:1-11). Joel describes God’s judgment in all its terror and pleads with the people to repent – for God relents when His people repent!!

For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome;
who can endure it?

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster (Joel 2:11-13).

Joel ends his book with the promise that God will use the final judgment upon the earth to avenge the blood of His Son and His people (Joel 3:21). Woe to the one who is not covered by the blood of the Lamb! Although we long for Christ’s return, we take comfort in His delay and pray earnestly for those we love to enter the fold of Christ!

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book,Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 223: Hezekiah

2 Chronicles 29-32

The Chronicler devotes more words to Hezekiah than to any other post-Solomonic king. Unlike the parallel account in 2 Kings which focuses mainly on Hezekiah’s conflict with Sennacherib, the Chronicler chooses to highlight Hezekiah’s religious reforms and his celebration of the Passover.

The Chronicler was writing to the post-exilic community in the hopes that they would learn valuable lessons from the good and the bad of their history. Therefore, Hezekiah is presented as a “second Solomon” who enjoyed great wealth and favor with God because of his religious faithfulness.

But there is so much more to Hezekiah’s story. He was a faithful man – but he was also flawed. Before the conflict with Sennacherib, in the height of his glorious reign, Hezekiah became prideful. So God orchestrated the circumstances in Hezekiah’s life to bring about repentance. Hezekiah was struck with an illness, and the prophet, Isaiah, brought a message from God saying that Hezekiah would die.

This was God’s grace. This was Hezekiah’s chance to repent.

Consider David. He was not perfect, but he repented for the wrongs he committed and God pardoned him by His grace.

How many kings started off well and then become prideful during their reigns? Too many! In each instance, God gave them the opportunity to repent, and most of them chose to walk away from Him in pride.

Humility is not for the faint of heart. Repentance is not an easy pill to swallow. But it is the way that leads to life.

Hezekiah chose repentance. His life was extended 15 years and he was given the opportunity to lead his nation in one of the greatest shows of faith recorded in the pages of the Bible. His faith in God against the sure destruction by the Assyrian ruler, Sennacherib, was glorious.

Hezekiah struggled with his sin nature just like the rest of us, but when God offered grace, he seized it. He grabbed it and held on as if his life depended on it. …Because his life did depend on it! And so does ours. Let us not let go of the grace that is our salvation!! We must walk in the way of the humble… we must walk in repentance and faith.

Day 135: The Lamb of God

Proverbs 22-23; John 1:29-51

John gives us gives us an insider’s close-up view of Jesus’ first meeting with himself and the other future disciples, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael.

When Nathanael first meets Jesus, he says to Him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” He expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman government and make Israel the most powerful nation on earth. All of the disciples expected this.

But John the Baptist saw something different in Jesus. He says twice in this passage, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” This is an astonishing statement!  By calling Jesus, “The Lamb of God,” John the Baptist was connecting Jesus to the Passover Lamb, which automatically conjured up images of Sacrifice and death. Somehow, John the Baptist knew Jesus would be sacrificed as the final Passover Lamb. How else would He “take away the sins of the world” (vs. 29)?

Jesus was not what the Jewish nation expected. We have the luxury of hindsight, and know why the Messiah had to suffer and die. We know that He is both the Lion and the Lamb! He established his spiritual Kingdom on earth through his humble Sacrifice. And because He is our King, He deserves our worship and praise!

Day 26: The Passover Lamb

Exodus 11-12; Matthew 18:7-35

Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions (Genesis 15:13-14).

Today, we see God’s word to Abraham come true. After nine horrible plagues, God gives Moses instructions to prepare the people for the final plague. This is it. The people are to prepare a lamb, mark their doorposts with its blood and eat the lamb “girded with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste” (Exodus 11:11). It’s time to move. The blood of the lamb protected the people from God’s destroyer who came and killed the firstborn of each house without the blood. Many Egyptians died that night.

The Passover is riddled with symbolism. The symbols serve to remind the people and the coming generations of the Lord’s power and faithfulness in rescuing them from Egypt’s oppression. But the symbols serve a deeper purpose… They point forward to the Lamb of God, Jesus, who was sacrificed to rescue us from our sins.

Consider the detail found in the passage:

  • The Lamb
    Lamb will be without blemish (12:5)
    When to kill and eat the lamb (12:6;8)
    How to cook and eat the lamb (12:8-10)
    The lamb’s bones should remain unbroken (12:46).
  • The Blood
    Where and how to put the blood (12:7; 22)
    Protective work of the blood (12:13; 23)
  • The Bread
    Unleavened bread (12:8; 34)
  • The Feast
    A memorial of the Exodus (12:14-20)
    It is to be remembered from generation to generation (12:24-28).
  • Provision for the Foreigner
    Some Egyptians left with the Israelites (12:38).
    The foreigner must be circumcised to eat the Passover (12:43-44; 48-49).

God instituted the Feast of Unleavened Bread so that on the 14th day of the first month of every year, the Israelites would gather and commemorate the night that God’s destroyer “passed over” their families so that they could escape from Egypt in the darkness.

Instead of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we look forward to a later day when people from every tribe, people and language will worship together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19). At that feast, the bread will have risen to its fullest and instead of haste, there will be an eternity to linger… in the presence of our Passover Lamb!