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Oct 13: 2Chr 1-2 | Eze 39 | John 5

Reading 1 - 2Ch 2:11

"Hiram king of Tyre replied by letter to Solomon: 'Because the LORD loves his people, he has made you their king' " (2Ch 2:11).

What an extraordinary communication from a Gentile king to Solomon. It suggests that Hiram may have been a true and righteous proselyte to the faith of Israel. In his letter, he declares that Solomon was of such a character that his reign would be a special blessing from God to his people. Such was the character of Solomon, in those early days before he "left his first love", that even this Gentile monarch could see that he was bound to he a blessing to the people. How wonderful it would be if our characters were so transparent, so true, and pure, and good, that all who knew us might feel that we were a blessing to those among whom we dwell.


Also, Hiram distinctly recognizes that every blessing comes from God. If Solomon is a blessing to his subjects, Hiram attributes that to the fact of God having placed him where he was. Now, if one who was once an idolater could trace a blessing back to Yahweh as its source, what sort of pseudo-"Christian" must those be who never do anything of the sort, but trace it to what they call "good luck", or to "chance", or to anything rather than to God! We must never forget... whenever there is anything of good, anything of excellence, anything of spiritual profit, that comes to our door, we should praise and bless the God who gave it. We are all too apt to complain of Him when we suffer, and ready enough to attribute our afflictions to Him. Surely, then, when mercies come to us plentifully, we should magnify and glorify the name of the Lord our God from whom they come. We should say of every mercy, just as Hiram wrote to Solomon, "Because the LORD loves His people", He has done this.


Reading 2 - Eze 39

Eze 39 retells the story of God's attack and defeat but with a slightly different emphasis from that of the prior chapter. Not much attention is given to the attack itself (merely vv 1,2), whereas a great deal of space is devoted to describing the massive slaughter of Gog's forces. In a sense, then, Eze 38 concentrates on the threat from the powers opposed to God and His people, while Eze 39 concentrates more on the deliverance of God's people from that threat. The end of the chapter dwells at length on Israel's restoration (vv 21-29), especially on the immediate (pre-Gog) era of that restoration. Thus the chapter starts with the distant future but ends in the nearer future, with the promise of return from captivity to the land of Canaan and the greater truths which that return points toward.


Reading 3 - John 5:39

"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me" (John 5:39).

This verse is often misquoted, and misapplied. It is not a simple exhortation to "read the Bible"; for one thing, the Pharisees already did this, regularly and diligently. Rather, Christ's words should be read as his rebuke of the "Jews" -- as if to say: 'You search the Scriptures, because you THINK you will find eternal life there. But you refuse to see that those same Scriptures testify of me! And you do not come to me, that you might truly have life.'


It is never enough to be knowledgeable in the Scriptures in a theoretical sense. The study of God's Word must lead us to embrace Christ, with our whole heart and mind. Knowledge by itself is sterile. But intimate, personal experience of Christ brings about deep and lasting changes in our lives, and leads on to the eternal life that may be possessed only through him.

 

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