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Category Archives: Discipleship

Young Jews in Exile

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods. 3Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, 4young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end 5of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. 6Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. 7The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. (Daniel 1:1-7, NRSV)

Do you have another name?

Why is a name important?

If someone knows your name they have power over you. This is why Lilith, the first woman made, was removed from the garden when she requested to know God’s name.

And even more you have more power if you give someone a new name.

Have you ever been in exile and had your name changed?

What would you do?

How would you handle this?

 

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A Righteous Branch from David

14The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” 17For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18and the levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to make grain offerings, and to make sacrifices for all time. (Jeremiah 33:14-18, NRSV)

Here is the hope! That the promise of God is that David will always have a descendant on the throne and he will execute justice and righteousness in all the land.

The shoot from the stump of Jesse will be a righteous branch from David. And this one will be our righteousness.

Through Him God will bring peace and the suffering will end.

Always remember there is always hope!

 

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The City Falls

And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it; they built siegeworks against it all around. 2So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine became so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 4Then a breach was made in the city wall; the king with all the soldiers fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. They went in the direction of the Arabah. 5But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; all his army was scattered, deserting him. 6Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him. 7They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah; they bound him in fetters and took him to Babylon. (2 Kings 25:1-7, NRSV)

The Good News of God!

How do we get anything out of this to use today?

Where is the good news of God in all of this?

Where is Grace?

Well, sometimes it is yet to come. But if grace is still to come, where is the hope of grace?

The hope is always in Jesus, in God. In the promises that God has made to us as His children. Claimed and named by God so that we will be heirs with Jesus.

Not every story will be uplifting, but we have to have hope and know God works through all things for good.

 

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The Passover Reinstated

21The king commanded all the people, “Keep the passover to the Lord your God as prescribed in this book of the covenant.” 22No such passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah; 23but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem. 24Moreover Josiah put away the mediums, wizards, teraphim, idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he established the words of the law that were written in the book that the priest Hilkiah had found in the house of the Lord. 25Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him. (2 Kings 23:21-25, NRSV)

Josiah was a king after God’s own heart, one who walked in the steps of David and wanted to please God.

What do we do to please God?

Do we read our Bibles every morning and pray?

Do we do something else for God?

Is there something we should be doing for God?

How can we better align our lives with what God had planned for us?

 

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Cleaning out the Temple

4The king commanded the high priest Hilkiah, the priests of the second order, and the guardians of the threshold, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5He deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who made offerings to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and all the host of the heavens. 6He brought out the image of Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the Wadi Kidron, burned it at the Wadi Kidron, beat it to dust and threw the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. (2 Kings 23:4-6, NRSV)

Here we see Hilkiah cleaned out the temple of the Lord when was the last time you cleaned out your temple?

When was the last time you took inventory of all of the stuff in your life and decided that something had to go?

Do you clean out your heart and burn the things that do not belong there?

 

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A Renewed Covenant

Then the king directed that all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem should be gathered to him. 2The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him went all the people of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord3The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. All the people joined in the covenant. (2 Kings 23:1-3, NRSV)

Have you made a covenant with the Lord to follow?

The Lord made a covenant with you. Or I might be assuming too much, but when you were baptized, the Lord made a covenant with you by giving you a new name and claiming you as His child.

Have you ever made a covenant with the Lord or renewed that covenant?

Maybe now is the time.

 

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Huldah the Prophetess

11When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12Then the king commanded the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah, saying, 13“Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” 14So the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; she resided in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter, where they consulted her. 15She declared to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16Thus says the Lord, I will indeed bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants—all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. 17Because they have abandoned me and have made offerings to other gods, so that they have provoked me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. 18But as to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 19because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place, and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the Lord20Therefore, I will gather you to your ancestors, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring on this place.” They took the message back to the king. (2 Kings 22:11-20, NRSV)

When you hear that you have not been doing what God has called for you to do, what do you do?

Do you continue in your ways or do you try to do differently?

The king heard the words and knew they had done wrong, and his heart was torn for he wanted to follow after God.

Where is your heart? God knows where your heart is.

 

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