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Nov 04: 2Chr 33 | Hosea 1 | Acts 14-15

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Reading 1 - 2Ch 33

"For fifty-five years the reign of Manasseh continued, and for most of those years it was a time of great evil and wickedness. Manasseh quickly forgot the righteousness of his father Hezekiah, and brought the nation of Judah to one of its lowest ebbs. His was the longest reign of any of the kings of the Davidic throne, and brought an apostasy into a state religion. His mother's name was Hephzibah, and he was born on the third year of Hezekiah's miraculous extension of 15 years [at the time of] the defeat of Sennacherib. Even though the message of Yahweh was delivered to the king and nation, the sad record is 'they would not hearken' (v 10). Therefore the divine judgment came against the king (v 11), and he was taken into captivity into Babylon towards the end of his reign.

"Then came the most remarkable change in Manasseh. In his affliction, he prayed unto Yahweh and humbled himself. After so long a period of absolute apostasy and wickedness, the heart of Manasseh was turned to Yahweh. He 'knew' that Yahweh was God (v 13). The idea is that Manasseh recognised the hand of Providence in his life. He desperately desired to undo the evil he had done, but he had slain those who could have helped. Idolatry was still rampant in the days of his grandson, Josiah. Though Manasseh tried to repair his folly, there was not a sincere response by the nation. Certainly that sacrificed to Yahweh only (v 17), but they did this openly because they feared the king. Secretly they continued to serve pagan gods and this was openly done in the succeeding reign. The folly of Manasseh was seen in the evil reign of his son Amon, who reflected the environment of his early upbringing. It was a period of political instability (v 24) and of spiritual decadence (v 17). It was a time of great shadows in the record of Judah" (GE Mansfield).

Reading 2 - Hosea

"When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, 'Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD' " (Hos 1:2).

"For us, so many centuries later, not the least of its {Hosea's] values is its astonishing revelation of the tender love of God towards those who are His, His yearning desire that they 'might not perish' but might turn unto Him and be saved. This love is expressed in Hosea with such earnestness, that if we had not had this sanction of the word of the prophet himself, we might well not have dared to presume that it could be so great. In the light of Hosea we may enter a little better into the convictions of the apostle Paul that nothing, literally nothing, can 'separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord' [Rom 8:38,39]" (Fred Pearce, "The Christadelphian" 113:99).

Reading 3 - Acts 15:39

"They [Paul and Barnabas] had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company" (Acts 15:39).

"Perhaps it is something of a comfort in our own problems to know that for a time two great apostles were not in the same fellowship!... [but] in God's providence such a disastrous division was not to be" (Alan Eyre, "The Christadelphian" 108:60). Indeed, compare Gal 2:9,13; 1Co 9:6; 1Ti 4:11 especially: later, Paul speaks highly favorably of Mark; apparently, there was no continuing rift.

"Here it appears either Paul or Barnabas went too far. It must have been a violent disagreement to separate two associates who were so closely united. Indeed, the text indicates as much.

"Such examples are written for our consolation: for it is a great comfort to us to hear that great saints, who have the Spirit of God, also struggle. Those who say that saints do not sin would deprive us of this comfort. Samson, David, and many other celebrated men full of the Holy Spirit fell into grievous sins. Job and Jeremiah cursed the day of their birth; Elijah and Jonah were weary of life and desired death. No one has ever fallen so grievously that he may not rise again. Conversely, no one stands so firmly that he may not fall. If Peter (and Paul and Barnabas) fell, I too may fall. If they rose again, I too may rise again" (Martin Luther).


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