Tag Archives: Catastrophe

2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36

A siege that lasts two years. A famine. A city succumbs. Its king (Zedekiah) tries to escape at night past enemy (Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon’s) troops. Zedekiah is caught. The last he sees before his sight is taken is the slaughter of his sons. A city is dismantled as an enemy carries off bronze, silver and gold that had been used by Solomon to adorn and uphold the temple of the Lord. That is one side of the story in Second Kings.

Second Chronicles tells another perspective–of a lineage that repeatedly did evil in the sight of the Lord. It tells of prophets who came to warn and a leadership that mocked, scoffed and refused to listen.

11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 12 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord, the God of Israel.

14 Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem.

15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. 16 But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

17 So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. (2 Chronicles 36:11-17a, NLT)

While this may not be the birth of the saying, “Pride comes before the fall,” it certainly is another example of deceitful pride’s consequences. I wonder if one examines hardship or catastrophe, what would be the root? Even here, a list of heart attitudes that set a man, his entourage and an entire population against the Lord: refusal to humble; deceit; hard and stubborn; unfaithful; mocking and scoffing; disdain and contempt for/of truth. These thoughts are the birth of catastrophe–strong enough to not only bring down a man but an entire city, leaving behind ruin.

Lord, may I always be mindful of my heart attitudes, open to your direction and truth, and discerning of influences in my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

“Can you understand the secrets of God?
Can you search the limits of the Almighty?

His limits are higher than the heavens; you cannot reach them!
They are deeper than the grave; you cannot understand them!

His limits are longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.”  
Job 11:7-9 (NCV)

I know that everything that happens in my life happens for a reason. I am a believer of choice and free will, and I believe that the Omniscient God knows my journey in life as well as He knows the number of hairs on my head.

I don’t fully understand the purpose of the circumstances of my life. But, I also know that I can only see the tiny pieces of my days. He can see the big picture, where one day plus another day and so on add up to the whole, where lives interconnect and are forever changed.

Now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you to save people’s lives… So God sent me here ahead of you to make sure you have some descendants left on earth and to keep you alive in an amazing way. So it was not you who sent me here, but God… Genesis 45:5, 7-8a (NCV)

In the midst of the day to day of my journey I often don’t pay heed to God’s hand in any of it, the whirlwind of life demands my concentration and I lose focus on my Maker. It is in the aftermath of events, in the hind sight, where I take notice and connect the dots, when I finally see how God’s workings are evident.

A man named Simon, from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. Mark 15:21(NCV)

 

When the army officer who was standing in front of the cross saw what happened when Jesus died, he said, “This man really was the Son of God!” Mark 15:38-39 (NCV)

When I read stories in the Bible, I wonder about the people: their hopes, their expectations for their lives, how they muddled through the circumstances that shaped them and made them into who they became. I get a bit and a piece, a snap shot of their lives, but not the inner workings of their minds, not the details. I read of the moment, but miss out on the big picture reflections.

I wonder, if Pilate, the Jewish Priests, Barabbas, Simon from Cyrene, Alexander, Rufus, the army officer, and every other person who was a first-hand witness to the death and resurrection of Christ looked back on that time the way that I can remember where I was when the towers fell on 9/11 or the tsunami devastated the islands in east Asia.

Did they look back on that day as a defining moment in their lives or pass it off as just another instant in their own cyclonic lives? Did it fundamentally change who they were or get forgotten in the midst of honey-do lists and everyday endeavors? Did they see the finger of God pointing them in the right direction, urging them toward His love?

Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope. Romans 15:4 (NCV)

I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity and the freedom to be able to read these portraits of life in the Bible, to learn from and be encouraged by the small glimpses into the big puzzle that we are all a part of, to peruse the past that, if I allow it to, can influence my present and alter my future.

I am grateful that I am able to look back on the days leading up to my own witness to the cross, and remember being drawn into Him and His love.

And, I hope that, in the twinkling of the moments of my living, I recognize the God-perspective more often and become more resistant to losing Him in the shuffle of my hectic schedule.

 

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NCV)

 

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

 

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans