Sept 5: 2Ki 10 | Eze 1 | 2 Cor 5-7

Reading 1 - 2Ki 10

"Jehu is one of the most curious characters to appear in the report of the kings. He manifested an unquenchable zeal for Yahweh while undertaking the mission of wiping out Ahab's house, but as soon as he came to the throne he casually reintroduced the apostasy of Jeroboam and completely ignored the Law of Yahweh concerning Israel's worship. In order to ascertain his character, attention must therefore be focused on what motivated his professed zeal for Yahweh.


"Jehu massacred, in succession, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Jezebel, seventy sons of Ahab, 42 princes of Judah, and many thousands of Baal worshippers gathered by his decree to a special conference in Samaria. The cool and calculated ruthlessness with which he accomplished the vengeance of Yahweh upon Ahab's house is a clear indication of the real essence of Jehu's character. Yahweh commended him for destroying the house of Ahab (2Ki 10:30), but not for the attitude he adopted in accomplishing it. Jehu relished bloodshed and derived great satisfaction from the destruction of his fellow-Israelites, as is revealed in the death of Ahab's seventy sons -- whose heads he piled up in two heaps at the gate of Jezreel (2Ki 10:8-11). His zeal for Yahweh was really only a cloak for a blood-thirstiness unequalled in the history of the kings; hence Yahweh declared that He would in turn 'avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu' (Hos 1:4)" (JA Cowie, "The Kings of Israel and Judah").


Reading 2 - Eze 1

What is the derivation of the Hebrew word "cherub"? One possibility: "cherub" = ke-rab: the conjunction of two Hebrew words: (a) "ke": the likeness of; and (b) "rab": greatness, or a great number (cp "Rabbi"). Thus cherubim (the plural) thus signifies a great and mighty multitude, in whom God is manifested. This might refer to an angelic company or the company of the redeemed. All of the places of worship have cherubim associated with them (Gen 3:24; Exo 25:13-22; 26:31,33; 1Ki 6:23-35) -- suggesting that the great cherubic multitude will be finally revealed through their true worship of the Almighty.


The cherubim were associated with chariots (1Ch 28:18) -- the ancient vehicles of war, suggesting that their manifestation will be accompanied by a great battle. (John Thomas suggests the word "cherub" is related to the Hebrew word "rekab", or "chariot".)


Therefore, the cherubim speak of the sureness of God's purpose, covenants, and provisions, and His promise to fill the earth eventually with His glory, in the persons of many resurrected Spirit-beings. This salvation is the hope of all creation, and the cherubim in Eze 1 are pictured with four heads:


  • The lion: the head of all wild creatures;

  • The ox: the head of all tame creatures;

  • The eagle: the head of all birds; and

  • Man: the supreme head of all God's creation (Gen 1:26,28), who has been promised dominion over the earth.

Reading 3 - 2Co 7:1

"Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God" (2Co 7:1).

"Just as all disciples are against sin, so all disciples are in favour of purity. But all disciples know it is easier to denounce sin than to renounce it. Most would confess that it is easier to approve purity in principle than to perfect it in practice. To be convicted of impurity seems worse than being convicted, say, of covetousness. It is not worse necessarily but it seems worse. It appears more shocking. Why is this? Because in the minds of many people impurity has a strong sexual connotation. This is understandable, because sexual permissiveness does lead to a great deal of impurity... But there is other carnal conduct apart from sexuality. There is greed and gluttony and sloth. There is the cry of the mouth, there is the seeking of the eye, there is the grasping hand. There is the allurement of temptation. There is envy, jealousy and lust. By these things discipleship is tainted. Purity, therefore, is a condition free from contamination and pollution. Positively, it is clean, chaste, unsoiled. The absolute tone of these adjectives drives home the realisation that it is easier said than done.


"As an example, think of this. We sometimes speak of having pure motives. Who dares to say that his motives are always pure? No secret selfishness; no hidden self-esteem; no veiled pride? So, although we may be satisfied that we are free from sexual impurity, wisdom should warn us that there are other kinds which have to be recognised and repudiated... The first thing to notice is that the motive force in the process of cleansing is not human strength but divine influence. 'Having therefore these promises.' The power is in the promises and the claim that faith makes upon them. To strive for the cleansing and to neglect the promises is to court failure. To accept the promises and to neglect the personal cleansing is to keep the pollution. What are the promises? 2Co 6 is the answer: 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.' 'I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.' Because of the promise the cleansing command is this: 'Touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you' (2Co 6:16-18).


"It is evident that disciples under the influence of the Father have a definite thing to do. Having put their faith in the promise they must take resolute action towards cleansing from the unclean thing, whatever it is. No half-measures; no secret reservations; no escape routes; no reserves for rebuilding the old bridges in case we need to retreat. The call is for firm, clear-cut action. Associations, habits, friendships, indulgences which are known to lead to impurity must be renounced and denied. Cut the cord, burn every bridge. Go back to the early days, before you got involved in tainted things. Go back to the beginning when the vision was bright and separation entire" (Dennis Gillett, "Genius of Discipleship").

 

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