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06 September - 2 Kings 11; 12; Ezekiel 2; 2 Corinthians 8; 9


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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:39 AM

First Portion

2 Kings 11; 12


11:1 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. 11:2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were slain, even him and his nurse, and put them in the bedroom; and they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain; 11:3 He was with her hidden in the house of Yahweh six years. Athaliah reigned over the land. 11:4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the captains over hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him into the house of Yahweh; and he made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of Yahweh, and showed them the king’s son. 11:5 He commanded them, saying, “This is the thing that you shall do: a third part of you, who come in on the Sabbath, shall be keepers of the watch of the king’s house; 11:6 A third part shall be at the gate Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard. So you shall keep the watch of the house, and be a barrier. 11:7 The two companies of you, even all who go out on the Sabbath, shall keep the watch of the house of Yahweh around the king. 11:8 You shall surround the king, every man with his weapons in his hand; and he who comes within the ranks, let him be slain. Be with the king when he goes out, and when he comes in.”

11:9 The captains over hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded; and they took every man his men, those who were to come in on the Sabbath, with those who were to go out on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 11:10 The priest delivered to the captains over hundreds the spears and shields that had been king David’s, which were in the house of Yahweh. 11:11 The guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, around the king. 11:12 Then he brought out the king’s son, and put the crown on him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, “Long live the king!”

11:13 When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the house of Yahweh: 11:14 and she looked, and behold, the king stood by the pillar, as the tradition was, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes, and cried, “Treason! Treason!”

11:15 Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, “Bring her out between the ranks. Kill him who follows her with the sword.” For the priest said, “Don’t let her be slain in the house of Yahweh.” 11:16 So they made way for her; and she went by the way of the horses’ entry to the king’s house. She was slain there. 11:17 Jehoiada made a covenant between Yahweh and the king and the people, that they should be Yahweh’s people; between the king also and the people. 11:18 All the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and broke it down; his altars and his images broke they in pieces thoroughly, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. The priest appointed officers over the house of Yahweh. 11:19 He took the captains over hundreds, and the Carites, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of Yahweh, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king’s house. He sat on the throne of the kings. 11:20 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. Athaliah they had slain with the sword at the king’s house. 11:21 Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign.

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:39 AM

12:1 In the seventh year of Jehu began Jehoash to reign; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 12:2 Jehoash did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 12:3 However the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. 12:4 Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of Yahweh, in current money, the money of the persons for whom each man is rated, and all the money that it comes into any man’s heart to bring into the house of Yahweh, 12:5 let the priests take it to them, every man from his acquaintance; and they shall repair the breaches of the house, wherever any breach shall be found.”

12:6 But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. 12:7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and for the other priests, and said to them, “Why don’t you repair the breaches of the house? Now therefore take no more money from your treasurers, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.”

12:8 The priests consented that they should take no more money from the people, neither repair the breaches of the house. 12:9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of Yahweh: and the priests who kept the threshold put therein all the money that was brought into the house of Yahweh. 12:10 It was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags and counted the money that was found in the house of Yahweh. 12:11 They gave the money that was weighed out into the hands of those who did the work, who had the oversight of the house of Yahweh: and they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders, who worked on the house of Yahweh, 12:12 and to the masons and the stone cutters, and for buying timber and cut stone to repair the breaches of the house of Yahweh, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it. 12:13 But there were not made for the house of Yahweh cups of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of Yahweh; 12:14 for they gave that to those who did the work, and repaired therewith the house of Yahweh. 12:15 Moreover they didn’t demand an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to give to those who did the work; for they dealt faithfully. 12:16 The money for the trespass offerings, and the money for the sin offerings, was not brought into the house of Yahweh: it was the priests’. 12:17 Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it; and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. 12:18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the holy things that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own holy things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of Yahweh, and of the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem. 12:19 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 12:20 His servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and struck Joash at the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. 12:21 For Jozacar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, struck him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his place.

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:40 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 2


2:1 He said to me, Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you. 2:2 The Spirit entered into me when he spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard him who spoke to me. 2:3 He said to me, Son of man, I send you to the children of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me even to this very day. 2:4 The children are impudent and stiff-hearted: I am sending you to them; and you shall tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh. 2:5 They, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house), yet shall know that there has been a prophet among them. 2:6 You, son of man, don’t be afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you, and you do dwell among scorpions: don’t be afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 2:7 You shall speak my words to them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear; for they are most rebellious. 2:8 But you, son of man, hear what I tell you; don’t be rebellious like that rebellious house: open your mouth, and eat that which I give you. 2:9 When I looked, behold, a hand was put forth to me; and, behold, a scroll of a book was therein; 2:10 He spread it before me: and it was written within and without; and there were written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:42 AM

Third Portion

2 Corinthians 8; 9


8:1 Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; 8:2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. 8:3 For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 8:4 begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. 8:5 This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. 8:6 So we urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace. 8:7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace. 8:8 I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich. 8:10 I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing. 8:11 But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. 8:12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have. 8:13 For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed, 8:14 but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality. 8:15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

8:16 But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.. 8:17 For he indeed accepted our exhortation, but being himself very earnest, he went out to you of his own accord. 8:18 We have sent together with him the brother whose praise in the Good News is known through all the assemblies. 8:19 Not only so, but who was also appointed by the assemblies to travel with us in this grace, which is served by us to the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our readiness. 8:20 We are avoiding this, that any man should blame us concerning this abundance which is administered by us. 8:21 Having regard for honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 8:22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have many times proved earnest in many things, but now much more earnest, by reason of the great confidence which he has in you. 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for you. As for our brothers, they are the apostles of the assemblies, the glory of Christ. 8:24 Therefore show the proof of your love to them in front of the assemblies, and of our boasting on your behalf.



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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:44 AM

9:1 It is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you concerning the service to the saints, 9:2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia has been prepared for a year past. Your zeal has stirred up very many of them. 9:3 But I have sent the brothers that our boasting on your behalf may not be in vain in this respect, that, just as I said, you may be prepared, 9:4 so that I won’t by any means, if there come with me any of Macedonia and find you unprepared, we (to say nothing of you) should be disappointed in this confident boasting. 9:5 I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brothers that they would go before to you, and arrange ahead of time the generous gift that you promised before, that the same might be ready as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness. 9:6 Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 9:7 Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work. 9:9 As it is written,

“He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor.
His righteousness remains forever.”

9:10 Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; 9:11 you being enriched in everything to all liberality, which works through us thanksgiving to God. 9:12 For this service of giving that you perform not only makes up for lack among the saints, but abounds also through many givings of thanks to God; 9:13 seeing that through the proof given by this service, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all; 9:14 while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you. 9:15 Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:34 AM

06 September 2008

2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 11:36 AM

06 September 2009

2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:47 AM

06 September 2010

2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9

VISIONS?

On Sunday we commenced reading the Book of Ezekiel. This man was a Priest, he was taken away into captivity by the Chaldeans before Jerusalem was destroyed, and the word of the LORD came to him while he was in captivity. Jerusalem had not been destroyed at that stage and all the captives were looking for the LORD to deliver them and bring them back to their homeland.

Ezekiel had a difficult task, as with Jeremiah his message was unpopular, the captives did not want to hear it. The LORD strengthens him by giving him an incredible demonstration of His awesome power. We can call this a vision; we can compare it to when Paul was lifted up to the “third heaven”, which we will read about on Wednesday. [2 Corinthians 12]

Truly the Almighty gives special strength to those who are called upon to take on the most difficult tasks. The experience causes Ezekiel to fall on his face and in our reading today [Ezekiel 2] and we learn how he hears the words of commission that God is giving him. Part of that commission is, “you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear” [Ezekiel 2:7] This is a principle we should try to follow in our lives when we get into conversations with others about the nature of our faith in the future.

The more we can make our own “vision” of God a true one, the result of our meditations on God’s holy word, the more we will feel impelled to do this.

At the end of the chapter Ezekiel sees a scroll of a book and is told to eat it! Ezekiel 3:3 says, “Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey” Can we say that, as we feed on God’s Word, we find that it is as “sweet as honey”?

Let’s understand the symbol here: truly the sweetness of what God has in store for those who love him is true sweetness of thought and anticipation - compared to the other things that can, if we let them, occupy our minds. Think of what was occupying the minds of the Israelites during their captivity. Do we feel we are in captivity to sinful thoughts? Is there a comparison? We will appreciate God’s kind of sweetness – and see the contrast - as we continue to read Ezekiel.
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Posted 06 September 2011 - 10:07 AM

06 September 2011

2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9

"WHOEVER SOWS BOUNTIFULLY WILL ALSO REAP BOUNTIFULLY"

Throughout the Old Testament, especially from the time of the Law of Moses, tithing became an established principle for God’s nation. But we must remember that this was a law for a nation. When the nation chose to have kings there were additional financial burdens.

The situation with Christianity was quite different, believers became a spiritual nation [1 Peter 2:9] but there is not even a hint of a law of tithing in the church, although many sections of the “Christian” movements today act as though there is.

Our chapters in 2nd Corinthians today [2 Corinthians 8; 9] make it plain that all giving by believers was “of their own freewill” [2 Corinthians 8:3] and that giving to the needs of others is an “act of grace” [2 Corinthians 8:6] by the giver. Paul comments that it is “a matter of fairness (that) your abundance at the present time should supply their need” [2 Corinthians 8:13,14] and Paul reflects back to how God oversaw life in the wilderness journeys under Moses when “whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack” [2 Corinthians 8:15]

The climax to Paul’s reasoning comes in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “The point is this: who ever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he (or she) has made up (their) mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

May we all reap bountifully, may this be Wonderfully the case when Christ returns. Remember the Proverb, “the one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.” [Proverbs 11:18]: or as Paul puts it in writing to the Galatians, “let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up” [Galatians 6:9]
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Posted 06 September 2012 - 04:59 AM

06 September 2012

2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9

"IMPUDENT AND STUBBORN"

Yesterday we started reading the book of Ezekiel. He is a priest [Ezekiel 1:3] and is with those taken into captivity and placed by the Babylonians “by the Chebar canal” [Ezekiel 1:3]. Jerusalem and the Temple have not yet been destroyed, indeed we calculate from the dates given, that its’ destruction is still about 18 years in the future. Those in captivity with Ezekiel are setting their hopes on being able to return to their homeland.

Ezekiel’s initial commission after seeing the Divine visions recorded in Ezekiel 1 is, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.” [Ezekiel 2:3-5]

It is evident that these captives had no sense of being in awe of the LORD. God’s message through Ezekiel is the very opposite of what, from a human point of view, is a good message – and the Bible’s message for the world today – as to its’ immediate future – is the very opposite of a good message. It seems fitting to describe the vast majority today as being “ignorant and stupid” or as ‘The Message’ Bible puts it, “hardened in their sin” - but we have a responsibility to give a message so that “they will know” what God’s word plainly predicts.

Then the LORD addresses Ezekiel personally, “Be not afraid of their words, be not dismayed … for they are rebellious … but you … Be not rebellious …. open your mouth …” [Ezekiel 2:6,8] and he is given a scroll “… and there were on it …“words of lamentation and mourning and woe.” [Ezekiel 2:10] The burden of Ezekiel’s message, in the first half of his book is very similar to that of Jeremiah, both were giving God’s message at the same time, but in different locations.

We must be the very opposite of being rebellious. May it be true of us as was now happening in Corinth; Paul is rejoicing at their renewed spirit. We read today his joy for “… you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness …” [2 Corinthians 8:7] The believers there were showing their great love for their Lord and for Paul by the ready financial support for those in trouble. It was not a matter of tithing as some practice today – without any Scriptural warrant, for tithing was practised only under the law of Moses; but the believers, writes Paul, “…gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints” [2 Corinthians 8:3-4] May we be so motivated to give from what we are blessed to possess – and that includes our time – in serving the Lord.
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Posted 06 September 2013 - 10:39 AM

06 September 2013

2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9

“WHETHER THEY HEAR OR REFUSE”

Who would be a prophet specially sent by God! We are now reading Ezekiel and we find many similarities in his circumstances to that of Jeremiah. The word of the LORD is not welcome because it does not agree with what the people want to hear.

Ezekiel is among the captives in exile [Ezekiel 1:1-3] and all the exiles want to hear is a message that they are soon going to be able to return to their homeland and the Temple in Jerusalem.

The end of chapter 1 is that Ezekiel has a vision “and I heard a voice speaking.” Our chapter today is about what the voice says; instructions for action! “I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels … And whether they hear or refuse to hear … they will know that a prophet has been among them” [Ezekiel 2:3,5]

Ezekiel is further told, “be not afraid of them, whether they hear or refuse …” [Ezekiel 2:7] God repeats the instructions to Ezekiel for emphasis. This reminds us of the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “…necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I will have a reward …” [1 Corinthians 9:16-17]

Is necessity laid upon us? Are we so focused on the kingdom to God and the “house of prayer for all nations” [Mark 11:17] to be built in Jerusalem that we rarely or never speak of God’s message of hope and expectation to others “whether they hear or refuse to hear” Let us do this “of our own will”

There is a human saying that there is no time like the present, but in today’s reading Paul puts it this way after quoting God’s words through Isaiah that “In a favourable time …in a day of salvation I have helped you” Paul says, “Behold now is the favourable time; behold now is the day of salvation.” [2 Corinthians 6:2]

Now is the favourable time for us to decide whether we are on the Lord’s side and live sensing both the help and the responsibility that he provides.
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Posted 07 September 2014 - 06:17 AM

06 September 2014
 
2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9  
 
“WHETHER THEY HEAR OR REFUSE TO HEAR”
            
Yesterday we started reading the intriguing prophecy of Ezekiel.  He is in Babylon with those taken captive there before Jerusalem fell, along with King Jehoiachin. This is recorded in 2 Kings 24:12-15.  It is in “the fifth year of the exile” [Ezekiel 1:2-3] that “the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel … and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.”  It maybe he was sent by the LORD to join the exiles. There are many varied prophecies and visions that the LORD reveals to him climaxing with a vision in his final 9 chapters of a wondrous temple that will come into being in the ultimate future of the world.
            
In today’s chapter he is told to preach to the exiles, and their attitude to his message have a number of comparisons with attitudes today.  He is told, “I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels who have rebelled against me.” [Ezekiel 2:3]  He is told, “The descendants also are impudent and stubborn … And whether they hear or refuse to hear … they will know that a prophet has been among them … Be not afraid of them … nor be dismayed at their looks …” [Ezekiel 2:4-6]
            
We see a real comparison with the situation and attitudes today when there is an inclination to give up on efforts to witness about the word of God.   But the final “ingathering” (see Matthew 22:9-10) must be completed and “the labourers are few” [Matthew 9:27].   The vast majority we preach to  “refuse to hear” – but we recall the parable of Jesus about the final ingathering before his return when the “master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people …. “ [Luke 14:23] and these words, we feel, have an application to us today.  Let us renew our efforts in the area in which we live.
            
So let us take the lesson of the LORD’s instructions to Ezekiel to heart in whatever situation we are in and make known God’s word in these last days so that “whether they hear or refuse to hear” – we can really feel we are carrying out our responsibility before God.  This is an essential part of our “sowing” – noting the point Paul makes in today’s 9th chapter of 2nd Corinthians.  “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” [2 Corinthians 9:6] so, while Paul is not applying this primarily to preaching, let us take (and create) opportunities to sow the word of God in the ears of the those with whom we have contact so that “they will know that a prophet has been among them” and we show we are heeding Paul’s words to “abound in every good work” [2 Corinthians 9:8]  
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Posted 06 September 2015 - 01:23 PM

06 September 2015
 
2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9
 
"WHETHER THEY HEAR OF REFUSE TO HEAR" 
 
Yesterday we commenced reading the Book of Ezekiel. This man was a Priest, he was taken away into captivity by the Chaldeans before Jerusalem was destroyed, and the word of the LORD came to him while he was in captivity. Jerusalem had not been destroyed at that stage and all the captives were looking for the LORD to deliver them and bring them back to their homeland. 
 
Ezekiel had a difficult task, as with Jeremiah his message was unpopular, the captives did not want to hear it. The LORD strengthens him by giving him an incredible demonstration of His awesome power. We can call this a vision; we can compare it to when Paul was lifted up to the “third heaven”, which we will read about this on Tuesday. [2 Corinthians 12] 
 
Truly the Almighty gives special strength to those who are called upon to take on the most difficult tasks. The experience causes Ezekiel to fall on his face and in our reading today [Ezekiel 2] and we learn how he hears the words of commission that God is giving him. Part of that commission is, “you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear” [Ezekiel 2:7] This is a principle we should try to follow in our lives when we get into conversations with others about the nature of our faith in the future. 
 
The more we can make our own “vision” of God a true one, the result of our meditations on God’s holy word, the more we will feel impelled to do this. 
 
At the end of the chapter Ezekiel sees a scroll of a book and is told to eat it! Ezekiel 3:3 says, “Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey” Can we say that, as we feed on God’s Word, we find that it is as “sweet as honey”? 
 
Let’s understand the symbol here: truly the sweetness of what God has in store for those who love him is true sweetness of thought and anticipation – compared to the other things that can, if we let them, occupy our minds. Think of what was occupying the minds of the Israelites during their captivity. Do we feel we are in captivity to sinful thoughts? Is there a comparison? We will appreciate God’s kind of sweetness – and see the contrast – as we continue to read Ezekiel. 
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Posted 11 September 2016 - 05:07 AM

06 September 2016
 
2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9
 
"TO PROVE ... THAT YOUR LOVE ... IS GENUINE"
 
Today our chapter 8 in Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians addresses practical matters.  It tells us that “the ecclesias of Macedonia” in “their extreme poverty ...  overflowed in a wealth of generosity ..." [2 Corinthians 8:2] It seems strange, but human nature tends to cause the secure and relatively wealthy to be miserly while those who have little wealth and who are living in relative poverty are the most generous. We read today in 2 Kings 12 that even the priests neglected to use the money under their control to repair the Temple ­ as the king desired. [2 Kings 12:4-6] 
            
Paul comments how the believers in Macedonia were generous "beyond their means, .... begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints [in Corinth]" [2 Corinthians 8:4]. Paul is surprised - and no doubt, very pleased!  He writes, "this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us." [2 Corinthians 8:5]  This is total giving, not necessarily of money, but of service, of help, in every way open to them..
            
What commitment of mind they obviously had, it was an enduring example for all time - that is why this commendation of Paul has been preserved.  Titus has a major role in this, Paul says, "we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace." [2 Corinthians 8:6]  We do not perhaps think of the word 'grace' in this context , but it describes the foundation state of mind in many circumstances among genuine believers; we remember how we saw it used by Paul at the beginning of the month in his 1st epistle 1 Corinthians 15:10].
            
Grace is not an attitude that can be commanded, "but," says Paul, "to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine." [2 Corinthians 8:8]
           
Let us be ready to prove our love in a similar way when placed in such situations, "for," says Paul, "you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." [2 Corinthians 8:9] 
            
How do you and I "become rich" in the way Paul means?    Our minds go to the words of James, "Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?" [James 2:5] 
            
We must remember what we read yesterday! Paul wrote, "as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way ... as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything." [2 Corinthians 6:4,10]  Let us "prove that our love is genuine.”
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- DC


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Posted 10 September 2017 - 04:17 AM

06 September 2017
 
2 Kings 11; 12
Ezekiel 2
2 Corinthians 8; 9
 
"WHOEVER SOWS BOUNTIFULLY WILL ALSO REAP BOUNTIFULLY"
 
Throughout the Old Testament, especially from the time of the Law of Moses, tithing became an established principle for God's nation. But we must remember that this was a law for a nation. When the nation chose to have kings there were additional financial burdens. The situation with Christianity was quite different, believers became a spiritual nation [1 Peter 2:9] but there is not even a hint of a law of tithing in the early church, although many sections of the Christian movements today act as though there is.
 
Our chapters [2 Corinthians 8; 9] in Second Corinthians today make it plain that all giving by believers was "of their own freewill" [2 Corinthians 8:3] and that giving to the needs of others is an "act of grace" [2 Corinthians 8:6] by the giver. 
 
Paul comments that it is "a matter of fairness (that) your abundance at the present time should supply their need" [2 Corinthians 8:13-14] and Paul reflects back to how God oversaw life in the wilderness journeys under Moses when "whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack" [2 Corinthians 8:15].
 
The climax to Paul's reasoning comes in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he (or she) has made up (their) mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 
 
May we all reap bountifully, may this be Wonderfully the case when Christ returns.
 
Remember the Proverb, "the one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward." [Proverbs 11:18]: or as Paul puts it in writing to the Galatians, "let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up" [Galatians 6:9].
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- DC





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