Highlights In Today's Reading:
The reign of King Ahaz in Judah is a disaster. What did he do that was right in the sight of the Lord (16:2)? You will read of nations warring, making alliances, plotting, invading, and being carried into captivity. Chapter 17 clearly outlines why they were not under the protection of the Lord. We all need to know why the last sentence in the chapter should open our eyes!
The two and one-half tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manassah chose to live just outside the promised land. However, they did join the other tribes and entered Canaan under Joshua to help fight for the promised. They then returned to their "profitable" territory on the east side of the River Jordan. As the years passed, compromising sins eventually left them powerless before their enemies. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria (capital of the Northern Kingdom), and carried Israel away into Assyria. . . . Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah. . . . Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks (17:6,13-14).
The people of the ten-tribe Northern Kingdom were defeated and deported into a heathen land which forever ended their existence as a separate kingdom.
The dispersion of the ten tribes occurred in two stages, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were the first to be defeated by the Assyrians. Their deportation is described in I Chronicles 5 and concludes: They transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them (I Chronicles 5:25-26).
Instead of crossing Jordan into the promised land as God had directed, these tribes chose by what materially appeared would bring success (Numbers 32:33). Such people are the first to give up and become obsessed with worldly pleasures — compromising convictions for "what appears" to be material advantage — instead of being obedient to the Word of God. They are examples of so-called "worldly" Christians today who give more time to planning their vacation than they do in how they can better serve the Lord. We see the after effects of their choice. An example is: Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world (II Timothy 4:10). Just as a desire for material gain led the two and one-half tribes to settle outside the promised land. Many compromised what they know to be God's will in order to gain their personal goals.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15).
Thought for Today:
A halfhearted commitment to Christ results in instability to every other area of our lives.
Through the original Brasen (brass) Altar made by Solomon (II Kings 16:14; II Chronicles 4:1). The Brasen Altar is a type of the cross on which Christ, our whole burnt offering, offered Himself to God (Hebrews 9:14). Unlike the necessary daily sacrifices offered by the priests on the Brasen Altar, this He did once (once for all), on the cross, when He offered up Himself (Hebrews 7:27).
16:11 against =before; 16:13 meat offering =meal or grain offering or unleavened bread, oil, and a portion of incense (see Leviticus 2:1); 16:18 entry without, turned he from =be removed the covered walkway.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Betty A. Farnham and Emma Thomas, and in memory of James C. West; Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Victor Danz; English International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Eddie Brewer • Staff: Rita Guerra • Government Officials: Sen. Pete Domenici (NM) and Rep. Candice Miller (MI) • Country: Nauru (11,000) in the central Pacific • Major languages: Nauruan and English • Religious freedom • 57% Protestant; 24% Roman Catholic; 10% Buddhist and Chinese folk-religionist • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that God will enable you to be a generous, cheerful giver to Him (II Corinthians 9:6-7).
Optional Reading: Romans 10
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:7