Are you listening or hearing? Are you listening and acting on it? Are you listening to someone who is out for your best interest? Are you listening to someone who is out for their own best interest? What have you learned from listening? What have you experienced through listening? Are they a good advisor? Are they a good teacher? Are they worth listening to? Are they teaching you good or evil? Are they speaking truth in love? Consider the source and their motives! Choose your counselors well! Having the wrong ones can lead to your downfall! So who are you listening to?
Today’s reading begins in 2 Chronicles 22…
Ahaziah Falls with Ahab
1Then the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king in his place for the troops that invaded the camp with the Arabians had slain all the older ones. Thus Ahaziah the son of Jehoram became king over Judah. 2Ahaziah was 22 years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. 3He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab for his mother counseled him to do evil. 4He did evil in the sight of Adonai, like the house of Ahab, for they were his counselors after his father’s death—to his destruction. 5He also followed their counsel when he went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to wage war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram, 6so he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds inflicted on him at Ramah when he fought Hazael king of Aram. Then Azariah, the son of Jehoram king of Judah, went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he had been wounded. 7Now through his coming to Joram, God brought about Ahaziah’s downfall. Upon his arrival, Ahaziah went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom Adonai had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. 8So it came to pass that when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, he came upon the officers of Judah and Azaiah’s relatives, who had been attending Azaiah, and slew them. 9He then searched for Azaiah who was caught hiding in Samaria. Then they brought him to Jehu, put him to death and buried him, for they said, “He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought Adonai with all his heart.” Then there was no one in the house of Azaiah to hold power over the kingdom.
Athaliah and Joash
10Now when Athaliah, Azaiah’s mother, saw that her son had died, she arose and destroyed all the royal offspring of the house of Judah. 11But Jehoshebeath, the king’s daughter, took Joash the son of Azaiah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being slain, and put him and his nurse in the bedroom. Because Jehoshebaeath, daughter of King Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the kohen, was the sister of Azaiah, she could hide him from Athaliah so she could not kill him. 12He remained hidden with them in the House of God for six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.
–from 2 Chronicles 22
With godly counselors we can get wise advice! With godly counselors we can learn and receive direction! With godly counselors we can find truth and hope in love! So choose wisely your counselors and advisors!
1Now in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself and brought the officers of hundreds—Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri—into a covenant with him. 2They went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah and the leading patriarchs of Israel. They came to Jerusalem 3and the entire congregation made a covenant with the king in the House of God. Then he said to them: “Behold, the king’s son! He must reign as Adonai promised concerning David’s sons. 4This is what you should do: a third of you, kohanim and Levites coming on duty on Shabbat will keep watch at the gates, 5a third of you shall be in the royal palace, and a third at the Foundation Gate, and all the people shall be in the courtyard, and all the people should be in the courtyard of the House of Adonai. 6But let no one enter into the House of Adonai except the kohanim and the ministering Levites. They may come in, for they are kadosh, and let all the people observe the service of Adonai. 7The Levites will surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand, and whoever enters the House, let him be killed. Stay close to the king in his comings and goings.” 8So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the kohen commanded. Each took his men, those that were on duty on Shabbat and those who went off duty on Shabbat, for Jehoiada the kohen had not dismissed any of the divisions. 9And Jehoiada the kohen delivered to the officers of hundreds King David’s spears, shields and bucklers that were in the House of God. 10Then he stationed all the people, each man with his weapon in his hand around the king—from the south side of the House to the north side of the House by the altar and by the House. 11Then they brought out the king’s son and placed upon him the crown and the insignia. They proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and declared, “Long live the king!” 12When Athaliah heard the shouting of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people to the House of Adonai. 13She looked, and behold, the king was standing by his pillar at the entrance and the officers and the trumpeters were beside the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing the trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments were leading the praise. So Athaliah tore her clothes and said, “Treason, treason!” 14Jehoiada the kohen brought out the officers of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, “Bring her out from between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the kohanim said, “Do not put her to death in the House of Adonai.” 15So they seized her as she arrived at the entrance of the Horse Gate of the royal palace and killed her there. 16Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, all the people and the king to be the people of Adonai. 17All the people went to the house of Baal and tore it down, smashed its altars and images into pieces, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars. 18Then Jehoiada placed the oversight of the House of Adonai under the authority of the Levitical kohanim, whom David had assigned over the House of Adonai to offer the burnt offerings of Adonai, as it is written in the Torah of Moses, accompanied by rejoicing and singing as ordered by David. 19He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the House of Adonai so that no one who was ritually impure for any reason could enter. 20He took the officers of hundreds, the nobles, the rulers of the people and all the people of the land, and brought the king down from the House of Adonai. They came through the upper gate of the royal house and seated the king upon the royal throne, 21and all the people of the land rejoiced. The city was quiet for Athaliah had been slain with the sword.
–from 2 Chronicles 23
Turn to God! Listen and hear His Words! Obey Him! He speaks truth in love! Don’t lose hope for He knows what you are going through! Give it all up to Him! Trust Him! Allow your faith to be built up! Glorify Him in the way you live life!
Scorn and Disgrace, Gall and Vinegar
1For the music director, on “Lilies,” of David. 2Save me, O God, for the waters have reached my soul. 3I have sunk in deep mud, and there is no footing, I have come into deep waters, and a flood sweeps over me. 4I am worn out by my crying, my throat is parched, my eyes fail, waiting for my God. 5Those who hate me without a cause outnumber the hairs of my head. Powerful are my enemies who would destroy me with lies. What I did not steal, must I restore? 6O God, You know my folly, nor are my trespasses hidden from You. 7May those who hope in You not be ashamed because of me, my Lord, Adonai-Tzva’ot. May those who seek You not be disgraced because of me, O God of Israel. 8For I have endured scorn for Your sake. Disgrace has covered my face. 9I have become a stranger to my brothers, a foreigner to my mother’s children. 10For zeal for Your House consumed me— the insults of those who insulted You have fallen on me. 11When I wept and fasted— that became a reproach to me. 12When I put on sackcloth, I became a joke to them. 13Those who sit at the gate chatter about me, and I am the song of the drunkards. 14But as for me, my prayer to You, Adonai, is for a time of favor. O God, in Your great love, answer me with the truth of Your salvation. 15Deliver me from the mire— do not let me sink. Deliver me from those who hate me, out of the deep waters. 16Do not let floodwaters sweep over me, nor the deep swallow me up, nor the Pit shut its mouth over me. 17Answer me, Adonai, for good is Your mercy. With Your great compassion, turn to me. 18Hide not Your face from Your servant. For I am in distress—answer me quickly. 19Draw near to my soul and redeem it. Ransom me because of my foes. 20You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace. All my adversaries are before You. 21Scorn has broken my heart, so I am sick. I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but found none. 22They put gall in my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. 23Let their table before them be a snare, and what should have been for their well-being, let it be a trap. 24Let their eyes be darkened so they cannot see and their backs be bent forever. 25Pour out Your indignation on them. Let Your fierce anger overtake them. 26Let their encampment be deserted. Let none dwell in their tents. 27For they persecute the one You have smitten, so they tell of the pain of those You have wounded. 28Add guilt to their guilt—may they not come into Your righteousness. 29May they be wiped out of the book of life and not be recorded with the righteous. 30But I—I am afflicted and in pain. Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high. 31I will praise God’s Name with a song, and magnify Him with praise. 32It will please Adonai better than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. 33The humble will see it and be glad. You who seek God, let your hearts revive. 34For Adonai hears the needy and does not despise His captive people. 35Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything moving in them. 36For God will save Zion, and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then they will dwell there and possess it. 37The children of His servants will inherit it and those who love His Name will dwell there.
–from Psalms 69
In this world we will have troubles, but take hope for Jesus has overcome the world! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because in and thru it all you will come out the other side complete and lacking nothing – endure!
We all have choices. We need to choose the right one before it is too late! Sure we will have troubles (not might but will), however, we don’t need to be making decisions that will make it worse! We need to be prepared! We need to choose to be a part of God’s family! We need to choose to be with God rather than apart from Him! We need to ask Jesus into our lives and follow after Him! God is a god of second chances, how many second chances do you need? How many second change will you take? Will you keep trying to align with God’s Word and God’s will? None of us are perfect! Jesus came and paid the price once for all, we have to make the choice to receive that gift from God! Choose it before it is too late!
The First Resurrection
1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a great chain. 2He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan—and bound him for a thousand years. 3He also threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed. After these things, he must be released for a short while. 4Then I saw thrones, and people sat upon them—those to whom authority to judge was given. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yeshua and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image, nor had they received his mark on their forehead or on their hand. And they came to life and reigned with the Messiah for a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6How fortunate and holy is the one who has a share in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no authority, but they shall be kohanim of God and the Messiah, and they shall reign with Him for a thousand years.
Judgment After 1000 Years
7When the thousand years has ended, satan shall be released from his prison, 8and he shall come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for the battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. 9And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the kedoshim and the beloved city—but fire fell from heaven and consumed them. 10And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they shall be tortured day and night forever and ever. 11Then I saw a great white throne, and the One seated on it. The earth and heaven fled from His presence, but no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead—the great and the small—standing before the throne. The books were opened, and another book was opened—the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what was written in the books, according to their deeds. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Sheol gave up the dead in them. Then they were each judged, each one of them, according to their deeds. 14Then death and Sheol were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. 15And if anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
–from The Revelation 20
We will all rise again! But then where will you go? That will be based on your choice! Did you choose Jesus or not? So choose wisely! And hopefully you will choose Jesus quickly! And spend eternity with God rather than apart from God!