2 Kings 17:1-18:12, Acts 20:1-38, Psalms 148:1-14, Proverbs 18:6-7
Today is June 30th. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it is great to be here with you today as we enter a brand-new, sparkly, shiny week, but also this is the last day of the sixth month of the year. So, this is kinda the point where we’re halfway through the Bible. Well done for making it six months every day through the Scriptures. And we have another six months out in front of us as we reach for the end of the year and reach for all that God has for us in the second half of the year through His Word. So, let’s dive in and get this week off to a good start knowing that we will enter the seventh month of the year beginning tomorrow. This week we’ll read from the Christian Standard Bible, and we’ll be picking up where we left off in the book of second Kings today. Chapter 18…sorry…17 verse 1 through 18 verse 12.
Okay. So, even as we conclude our reading for the first six months of the year and even as we prepare tomorrow to kinda turn the page and move into the back half, the second six months of the year, some pretty big things have happened today that we should know, kinda going forward. And these things are things that we will refer back to, but this is the place where we encountered them in the Bible. So, in the book of second Kings today, we’ve been tracking…and you gotta pay attention…because we’re moving through the kings of Israel, which is the northern kingdom, and the kings of Judah, which is the southern kingdom. So, today, what we just read was the end of the northern kingdom of Israel. Like, it will never be the northern kingdom of Israel again. It never was again. Assyria captured Samaria, the capital city of the northern kingdom and deported all of its inhabitants, which, as we have referred to before, is the way that they built the empires back then. Like, displacing people so that they didn’t have a homeland outside of the empire, and so that over the course of generations they would forget where they came from. And, so, what we watched in today’s reading was that the children of Israel were displaced from the Promised Land, 10 of the tribes were deported to other lands while many other conquered peoples from different places were moved in, right? And, so, they’re like, we don’t know how to worship these gods and there were lions and all of this. What we are seeing happen now is the earliest versions of what would later be known in Jesus time as Samaritans, right? So, the capital city of the northern kingdom was Samaria, but the Israelites were deported, and new people were moved in. They sent for a priest who already was worshiping false idols and he began to teach them, and they began to mix all of their cultures together creating a new way of worshiping God unlike Moses teachings and over time they became the Samaritans. And, so, the people of Judah, they will get conquered, but they will get to come back and they will believe that they are holding onto the true traditions. And, so, those people up in the north near the Galilee area, they will be known as Samaritans because although they worship Yahweh they don’t worship him the same. They don’t have the same understanding of Him at all. And, so, we will…it won’t be the last time that we interact with people of the north near the Galilee. But at this point in second Kings we are well before of the Roman Empire came in and controlled the area.
So, then in the book of Acts we’re obviously moving into the New Testament, moving forward in time considerably. So, are at a time where Paul is moving around the Roman empire, but these returned exiles who have come back to Judah and control Jerusalem, the remnant, the remainder of these people are trying to hold onto some influence and power. Paul has been moving around the empire sharing the gospel, but in Jerusalem they want Paul dead, right? He’s an apostate as far as they’re concerned, he has left is faith and has begun these crazy teachings about this guy Jesus. So, he deserves to die under Mosaic law…they want Paul to die. And now Paul’s on his way to Jerusalem where people want him dead, but the Holy Spirit has told him to come. And, so, we see this final meeting between Paul and the brothers and sisters, the Ephesians who have come to see him at the docks and we see this tearful farewell where he’s like, “I have to go back to Jerusalem. I don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen. The Holy Spirit just keeps telling me I have to go back there and that I will experience chains and affliction and I know that I’ll never see you…you will never see me again.” So, it’s a bittersweet moment to say the least. And we’ll continue to track with Paul, obviously, for quite a while, but we’ll see where this story leads because he’s on his way to Jerusalem and the complexion of his ministry is gonna change dramatically.
Father, we thank You for Your word. And here we are at the end of the first half of the year and at the precipice of the second half of the year and we invite Your Holy Spirit into that second half of the year, into all that is out in front of us and we ask that You speak to us and transform us and change us, so that as we complete this year we don’t even recognize the person that we once were. You have changed our hearts from within. And we look back and we’re thankful for all the work that You have done in our lives this first six months. We are so grateful. We are so thankful. And as we move through the center of the year, even as we prepare for the Daily Audio Bible long walk, just to reset and live into this second half of the year, next week, we invite Your Holy Spirit. Come Jesus we pray. In Your mighty name, we ask. Amen.