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July 6, Day 188 – Almost Persuaded

In 2 Kings 10, we read that “there were seventy sons of the house of Ahab” (verse 1). These “sons” probably included Ahab’s sons and grandsons. In this chapter, Jehu’s cleverness exposes his true colors … yesterday, we alluded to his zeal “for the LORD” (10:16), but we also see that he is not as zealous for God as much as he is for Jehu! If he were truly zealous for the Lord, he would have also destroyed the golden calf worship. Here, we see that Jehu “wrote letters to the Samaritan officials, elders, and guardians of Ahab’s children – challenging them to “fight for their master’s house” (verse 1-3). However, the officials were “terrified of” Jehu, and well they might be (verse 4). Jehu demanded that the “heads of the princes be brought to him in Jezreel” (verses 6-7). We read, “so Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab” (verse 11), and as if that were not enough, then he had “forty-two relatives of Ahaziah slaughtered by the well of Beth Eked” (verse 14). Finally, we see that Jehu killed all the ministers of Baal and “destroyed Baal worship in Israel” (verse 28). The LORD was pleased that Jehu exterminated all the purveyors of this wickedness – as well as the Baal worship – for which the Lord rewarded “his descendants to the fourth generation” (verse 30). But “Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD” (verse 31). As we said, Jehu was reckless – “he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, so the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel” (verses 31-32). In chapter 11, we meet Athaliah - the Lady Macbeth of the Old Testament - and a woman of absolute evil. Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, so her pedigree hardly recommends her. “When she saw that Ahaziah was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family” (verse 1). She wasn’t a nice person. Thankfully, Jehosheba – “daughter of Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah – took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away” from Athaliah (verse 2). Jehosheba kept Joash hidden “so he was not killed” (verse 2). We see that “Athaliah ruled the land for six years” (verse 3), during which time, Jehoiada the priest shielded the boy king until such time as Athaliah could be removed and put to death. Jehoiada installed Joash as rightful king, and we read that “all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet because Athaliah had been slain” (verse 20). It tells you something about the ruler when all the people rejoice over the ruler’s death.

We come today to the end of Psalm 80, verses 8-19 – and we observe that the Psalm closes with the same cry for God to restore us – a cry repeated twice before (verses 3 and 7). As we have seen, God’s continual restoration meets our need for renewal, revival, and restoration – “that we may be saved” – a phrase which the Psalmist repeats three times (verses 3, 7, and 19). Only our God offers us the eternal deliverance (i.e., rescue; salvation) that we need, and only He can provide it – otherwise – “we perish” (verse 16).

In Acts 24, we read about Paul’s trial before Felix and the false charges brought against him. It’s clear from this and other passages that the Jewish religious authorities at that time used manipulation against their Roman overlords to cover their own evil schemes and designs – trying to ease the burdensome Roman impositions on them. Paul “gladly made his defense” (verse 10). It’s interesting to me that Felix “sent for Paul and listened to him about faith in Christ, but Felix became afraid when Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come” (verse 25). It seems that Felix was almost persuaded, but because he wanted to grant the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison” (verse 27). How easily the Romans – who were in charge – fell in with Jewish manipulations in the name of civilization – thus forcing Paul to sit under Roman guard for two years. We wonder how many human lives have been affected by similar historical situations? Yet, we know that God was still in control and knew all about it - He hadn’t forgotten or abandoned Paul there.

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