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Jerusalem Falls

In the ninth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the tenth month, King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it; in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. When Jerusalem was taken, all the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. When King Zedekiah of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled, going out of the city at night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls; and they went toward the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and when they had taken him, they brought him up to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence on him. The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah before his eyes; also the king of Babylon slaughtered all the nobles of Judah. He put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters to take him to Babylon. The Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the houses of the people, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard exiled to Babylon the rest of the people who were left in the city, those who had deserted to him, and the people who remained.Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon gave command concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, saying, “Take him, look after him well and do him no harm, but deal with him as he may ask you.” So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, Nebushazban the Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer the Rab-mag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon sent and took Jeremiah from the court of the guard. They entrusted him to Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan to be brought home. So he stayed with his own people. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was confined in the court of the guard: Go and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to fulfill my words against this city for evil and not for good, and they shall be accomplished in your presence on that day. But I will save you on that day, says the Lord, and you shall not be handed over to those whom you dread. For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have trusted in me, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 39:1-18, NRSV)

Bad things are going to happen in life. No amount of worry or bubble wrap will stop it. We can only role with the punches and follow after God. If we can hold tight to the hope and promises we have in God then everything will eventually work out. That is the message for Ebed-melech and that is the message to each of us.

Hold tight to God and all of His promises and He will always be with you and His life for you will be the one you live.

 

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Hezekiah is Saved from an Illness

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.”Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord: “Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city. “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: See, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined. (Isaiah 38:1-8, NRSV)

Hezekiah was dying and Isaiah went to him to tell him that he would not recover. And Hezekiah wept and called upon the Lord. And because Hezekiah had followed after God and tried to do what was good int he eyes of God God heard him and had pity on him and gave him more time. Does this mean that if we ask God to extend our life He will?

Or if we do not follow after God He will strike us down quicker?

This means that God loves as we do and sees our hurts and our struggles and understands when we scream at Him.

God gets our emotions because our emotions come from God.

So ask, and seek. Follow after God all of your days, not because it might get you a second chance, but because it will allow you to share what He has given you so that others might come to know Him through you.

 

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David’s Advice to Solomon

When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. Then the Lord will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: ‘If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.’ “Moreover you know also what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner son of Ner, and Amasa son of Jether, whom he murdered, retaliating in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war on the belt around his waist, and on the sandals on his feet. Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace. Deal loyally, however, with the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for with such loyalty they met me when I fled from your brother Absalom. There is also with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a terrible curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you must bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.” Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established. (1 Kings 2:1-12, NRSV)

Here David is dying and tells his son, Solomon, the anointed king that will take David’s place on the throne to remain in the light of God and to follow God’s statutes and to keep the way of the Lord. And if Solomon does this, then God will bless the kingdom.

We should all take heed and walk before God with faithfulness of heart and soul. God will bless us and keep us. We will be walking in His ways and showing the world His love. None of us could ever do any better!

 

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Nathan and King David

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.” When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord, and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 26-27; 12:1-9, NRSV)

Nathan came to tell David that the Lord was not happy with him taking Uriah’s wife.

I remember this story from Veggie Tales. It is King George and the Ducky. And Nathan comes in at the end to explain to David with a flannel graph of sheep and poor and rich man. You see David was focused on what he wanted. In the Bible story it is Bathsheba, and in the Veggie Tales version even though King George has all of these wonderful duckys he see the ducky that Uriah has and he has to have it.

You see when we put ourselves before others we are not living the way that God and Jesus have taught us to live. It is not about us but the other.

How can we focus on the other to live as Jesus taught us?

 

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The Ten Commandments

Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.” So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17, NRSV)

How many commandments are there, and what is the numbering? Does the numbering matter?

And the commandments are to help us live in relationships with others. SOme help our relationship with God, and the rest help our relationships with others.

So how can we use them to help us live in good relationships with others?

 

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Descendants of Shem

These are the descendants of Shem. When Shem was one hundred years old, he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; and Shem lived after the birth of Arpachshad for five hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. When Arpachshad had lived for thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah; and Arpachshad lived after the birth of Shelah for four hundred and three years, and had other sons and daughters. When Shelah had lived for thirty years, he became the father of Eber; and Shelah lived after the birth of Eber for four hundred and three years, and had other sons and daughters. When Eber had lived for thirty-four years, he became the father of Peleg; and Eber lived after the birth of Peleg for four hundred and thirty years, and had other sons and daughters. When Peleg had lived for thirty years, he became the father of Reu; and Peleg lived after the birth of Reu for two hundred and nine years, and had other sons and daughters. When Reu had lived for thirty-two years, he became the father of Serug; and Reu lived after the birth of Serug for two hundred and seven years, and had other sons and daughters. When Serug had lived for thirty years, he became the father of Nahor; and Serug lived after the birth of Nahor for two hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. When Nahor had lived for twenty-nine years, he became the father of Terah; and Nahor lived after the birth of Terah for one hundred and nineteen years, and had other sons and daughters. When Terah had lived for seventy years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. (Genesis 11:10-26, NRSV)

Shem lived 600 years.

Arpachshed lived 438 years.

Shelah lived 433 years.

Eber lived 463 years.

Peleg lived 239 years.

Reu lived 239 years.

Serug lived 230 years.

Nahor lived 148 years.

Is this what we are to get out of this reading that people lived way longer in those days than they do now, or are these numbers not for the years that we say are years?

What if I told you that the numbers don’t really matter and what matters is the second son of Nahor?

Abram. Abram is the grandson of Nahor and the father of many nations!

You see Abram will become Abraham. And that is why this story is here. Not to prove you could live longer or time is measured differently. But to continue the story.

Are you continuing the story?

 

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Detestation of the Wicked

“May my enemy be like the wicked, and may my opponent be like the unrighteous. For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts them off, when God takes away their lives? Will God hear their cry when trouble comes upon them? Will they take delight in the Almighty? Will they call upon God at all times? I will teach you concerning the hand of God; that which is with the Almighty I will not conceal. All of you have seen it yourselves; why then have you become altogether vain? (Job 27:7-12, NRSV)

What will happen to those who do not trust God?

We can only hope that God will hear their cries as they turn their hearts to Him.

And how will they do this?

Because you have been an influence for God’s love in their lives.

 

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