Today: Psalms 81:1-7; Acts 25:1-22; 2 Kings 12 & 13; 2 Kings 14:1-22

Acts 25

For two years Paul had been imprisoned — TWO YEARS! I wonder if there were times he sat alone in his cell wondering if he had screwed up. Did he ever fear he was being punished? Paul knew he had been called to preach the gospel and yet there he sat in a prison cell for two long years. What on earth was God doing, letting him languish in there for so long?

But Paul’s time in prison gave him the opportunity to do something extremely important… write letters. He had no time to write letters when he was on the road traveling and preaching every day. But now he had nothing but time, and no other way to communicate to all of those churches he had planted except via letters.

Those letters now comprise much of the New Testament. Paul had no idea, when he wrote them, that his letters would preach the gospel to millions upon millions of future seekers. His letters have introduced the gospel to so many more people than he ever could have if he continued traveling and preaching. God put Paul in that cell so that he could compose His Word. There is no greater assignment than to be chosen to write part the Bible!

So many times we don’t understand why God has us in a particular place, or why He allows certain things to happen to us. God’s magnificent plan doesn’t require our understanding. But we can trust that He does indeed have a plan. And if we are seeking and following Him, then we are in His perfect plan whether we understand it or not. We can sit around wasting a bunch of time agonizing about our current situation, wondering if we screwed up or if we are being punished. Or we can trust that the God of the universe is quite capable of directing our lives and get on with it. The answer is B! I choose option B!!!

2 Kings 12

The succession of kings in the books of 1 & 2 Kings can get a bit confusing. During this entire time, Israel was separated into two kingdoms, Judah (successors of David) and the rest of Israel. So in the books of Kings we are following two separate succession lines. The timeline often jumps back and forth and a lot of them have very similar names. So don’t get frustrated if you find it tedious at times. It is important information for historians but all the nitty gritty details aren’t necessarily crucial for general readers.

There are still so many fantastic nuggets of gold sprinkled throughout the books. We learn so much about God’s plan and character throughout the pages of Kings. We find so many fulfilled prophecies and miracles.

There were lots of bad kings who “did evil in the eyes of the LORD.” But there were also some good kings like Joash and Amaziah who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.” The Jews just seemed to follow along with whichever direction their current leader happened to swing — evil or good (kinda’ like many of us?).

During the evil kings, when Jews practiced idol worship and other blasphemies, the LORD’s anger would burn against them, and He would often allow their enemies to defeat them. But no matter how horrific their infractions were, no matter how angry He was, God always preserved a remnant. He never let the Jews be completely obliterated as many of the other peoples of that day have been. He always remembered His promise to Abraham all those generations ago.