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Monday, November 16, 2015

Not Yet a Fishy Tale

We ended up splitting this study into two parts as well, so here's part 1, replacing the original longer study. We're heading for the prophet Jonah, but we meet another character called Zechariah along the way.

(8) Good King gone bad, and the Prophet Zechariah

Israel and Judah were in a state of war for years after Jehu’s assassination of Judah’s king Ahaziah, and after Athalia’s attempt to destroy the house of David. But one son of David remained in Judah to hold the throne: Read 2 Chronicles 24:1-3.
Joash’s mother is from Beer-sheba. Jewish readers, familiar with all their history, would immediately think of Beersheba’s history as soon as they read it. We often skip over place names as irrelevant, but today, let’s look at what other things happened in Beersheba.
1.       Genesis 21:14 Did God care for Hagar in the desert? What deserts has he cared for us in?
2.       Genesis 21:30-33, 22:19 Oaths were sworn, boundaries were set, and the name of the God Everlasting was remembered. What helps us remember the Lord God Everlasting?
3.       Genesis 26:23-25, 33 Isaac and Abraham settled here. How ready are we for God to show us where to settle?
4.       Genesis 28:10-12 Jacob dreamed near here. How do we feel about dreams and visions and messages from God?
5.       Genesis 46:1 Is the God of his father also the God of Jacob? How does God become God of our children? What happened next?
6.       All these were pre-Egypt. Moving ahead to post-Egypt... Joshua 15:20-28 Beer-sheba is part of Judah
7.       Judges 20:1, 1 Samuel 3:20, 2 Samuel 3:10. 24:2,15, 1 Kings 4:25, 1 Chronicles 21:2. Dan to Beer-sheba becomes a phrase meaning the whole (undivided) land. What catch-phrases do we use to represent God’s sovereignty?
8.       1 Samuel 8:2 Samuel’s sons were judges here. Do you remember if they were good judges?
9.       1 Kings 19:3 Elijah fled here.
10.   2 Kings 23:8. In later years, Josiah cleanses the holy places. What holy places might we need to cleanse and how?
How would our reading of the Bible be different if we were steeped in the appropriate culture and history? Does it matter that we don’t know the culture?
Did you notice that Joash was given two wives, chosen by priests? How does that read in our culture? How do you think it read in theirs?

Read 2 Chronicles 24:4-7. Joash instigates a tax to repair the Temple, and is well supported by the priests. How do we feel about taxes? Is tithing a tax?

Joash’s mentor-priest dies, and things fall apart. Read 2 Chronicles 24:17-21.
1.       Who might you consider your Mentor?
2.       How easily are we distracted into listening to friends instead of to God?
3.       How can we tell the difference between a good mentor and a bad advisor?
4.       What ways do you think God might send prophets today to help us?
5.       What might a modern prophet look like/ sound like?
6.       How would we know if God wanted us to be a prophet?
7.       How might we react if we felt called to speak to an unfriendly audience?
8.       Have you ever spoken to an unfriendly audience?
The prophet Zechariah speaks up but things don’t go well. Read 2 Chronicles 24:23-28.
1.       Short term consequences: Syria plunders Jerusalem. Joash is assassinated. His son Amaziah becomes king.
2.       Long term consequences: Read Matthew 23:34-35 God remembers. Jesus remembers: When God forgives our sins, which consequences are we spared?

Meanwhile more prophets speak and write: Read 2 Chronicles 24:27. Amaziah succeeds Joash, and in Israel, Jeroboam follows Jehoash and is guided by a fairly famous prophet - Before reading on, do you remember which one?

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