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For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."
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Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 25:1–27:9
  • Psalm 84:1-7
  • Proverbs 21:4-5
  • Acts 19:1-20

Notes:

2 Chronicles 25:7 man of God. This is a technical term used about 70 times in the Old Testament, always referring to one who spoke for God. He warned Amaziah not to make idolatrous Israel his ally because the Lord was not with Ephraim, i.e., Israel, the capital of idolatry.

2 Chronicles 25:8 God has power. The man of God reminded the king sarcastically that he would need to be strong, since God wouldn’t help.

2 Chronicles 25:14–16 Amaziah did the unthinkable from both a biblical and political perspective—he embraced the false gods of the people whom he had just defeated. Perhaps he did this because he was seduced by the wicked pleasures of idolatry and because he thought it would help him in assuring no future threat from Edom. However, it only brought destruction to the king, who just wanted to silence the voice of God.

Acts 19:13 itinerant Jewish exorcists. Simon Magus (8:9–25) and Bar-Jesus (13:6–12) were other possible examples of such charlatans (Matt. 12:27). In contrast to the absolute authority exercised by Jesus and the apostles over demons, those exorcists sought to expel the demons by attempting to call on a more potent spirit being—in this case the Lord Jesus.

Acts 19:15 Jesus…Paul I know. Recognizing that the exorcists had no authority over him (unlike Jesus and Paul), the demon rejected their attempt to expel him from his victim. This confirms that the power to cast out demons belonged to Jesus and the apostles and no one else. Even the demons give testimony to that.

Acts 19:19 books. Of secret magical spells. Burning them proved the genuineness of the magicians’ repentance. Having destroyed these books, they could not easily resume their practices. fifty thousand pieces of silver. Fifty thousand days’ wages for a common laborer—an astonishing sum of money given to indicate how widespread the practice of magic was in Ephesus.


DAY 15: How could the “disciples” of Acts 19:1 not have received the Holy Spirit?

Coming to Ephesus, Paul found “some disciples.” They were of John the Baptist (v. 3), hence Old Testament seekers. That they did not yet fully understand the Christian faith is evident from their reply to Paul’s question (v. 2). The word “disciple” means “learner,” or “follower,” and does not always refer to Christians (Matt. 9:14; 11:2;Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33; 7:18, 19; 11:1; John 1:35; 6:66). Followers of John the Baptist, like this group, existed into the second century.

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (v. 2). The question reflects Paul’s uncertainty about their spiritual status. Since all Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, their answer revealed they were not yet fully Christians. They had not yet received Christian baptism (having been baptized only “into John’s baptism”), which further evidenced that they were not Christians. These disciples did not realize Jesus of Nazareth was the One to whom John’s baptism pointed. Paul gave them instruction not on how to receive the Spirit, but about Jesus Christ. “They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 5). They believed Paul’s presentation of the gospel and came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (2:41). Although required of all Christians, baptism does not save.

Then “Paul…laid hands on them” (v. 6). This signified their inclusion into the church. Apostles were also present when the church was born (chap. 2), and when the Samaritans (chap. 8) and Gentiles (chap. 10) were included. In each case, God’s purpose was to emphasize the unity of the church. And they “spoke with tongues and prophesied.” This served as proof that they were part of the church. They also needed tangible evidence that the Holy Spirit now indwelt them, since they had not heard that He had come (v. 2).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 23:1–24:27
  • Psalm 83:9-18
  • Proverbs 21:2-3
  • Acts 18:1-28

Notes:

2 Chronicles 23:3 as the LORD…said. This is one of the most dramatic moments in messianic history. The human offspring of David have been reduced to one—Joash. If he had died, there would have been no human heir to the Davidic throne, and it would have meant the destruction of the line of the Messiah. However, God remedied the situation by providentially protecting Joash (2 Chr. 22:10–12) and eliminating Athaliah (1 Chr. 23:12–21).

2 Chronicles 24:15,16 Jehoiada. This man was the high priest of Athaliah’s and Joash’s reigns (2 Chr. 23:1–24:16), who championed God’s cause of righteousness during days of evil by: 1) leading the fight against idols; 2) permitting the coup against Athaliah; and 3) granting the throne to Joash to bring about the subsequent revival.

Psalm 83:18 know…Most High. The purpose of the maledictions against the hostile nations is neither personal nor national, but spiritual: that the nations may know and glorify God. whose name alone is the LORD. “Alone” should precede “are” in the next phrase. The Gentile nations need to know that the God of the Bible is the only God.

Acts 18:1 Corinth. The leading political and commercial center in Greece. It was located at a strategic point on the isthmus of Corinth, which connected the Peloponnesian peninsula with the rest of Greece. Virtually all traffic between northern and southern Greece had to pass through the city. Because Corinth was a trade center and host to all sorts of travelers, it had an unsettled population that was extremely debauched. It also housed the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. One thousand temple priestesses, who were ritual prostitutes, came each evening into the city to practice their trade.

Acts 18:8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue. The conversion of this respected leader must have sent shock waves throughout the Jewish community.

Acts 18:13 contrary to the law. While Judaism was not an official religion, it was officially tolerated in the Roman world, and Christianity was viewed as a sect of Judaism. The Jews in Corinth claimed that Paul’s teaching was external to Judaism and therefore should be banned. Had Gallio ruled in the Jews’ favor, Christianity could have been outlawed throughout the empire.


DAY 14: How did Aquila and Priscilla help Apollos?

In Acts 18:24, Apollos came to Ephesus and clearly was an Old Testament saint and follower of John the Baptist (v. 25). He came from Alexandria, an important city in Egypt located near the mouth of the Nile. In the first century, it had a large Jewish population. Thus Apollos, though born outside of Israel, was reared in a Jewish cultural setting. It states that he was “mighty in the Scriptures,” referring to Apollos’s knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. That knowledge, combined with his eloquence, allowed him to crush his Jewish opponents in a later debate (v. 28).

He had been instructed in “the way of the Lord” (v. 25).This did not include the Christian faith (v. 26). The Old Testament uses the phrase to describe the spiritual and moral standards God required His people to observe. “He knew only the baptism of John.” Despite his knowledge of the Old Testament, Apollos did not fully understand Christian truth. John’s baptism was to prepare Israel for the Messiah’s arrival. Apollos accepted that message, even acknowledging that Jesus of Nazareth was Israel’s Messiah. He did not, however, understand such basic Christian truths as the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the church as God’s new witness people. He was a redeemed Old Testament believer (v. 24).

Fortunately, Aquila and Priscilla completed Apollos’s training in divine truth by instructing him in the fullness of the Christian faith (v. 26).After further instruction, he became a powerful Christian preacher. His ministry profoundly influenced the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:12). Aquila and Priscilla were a husband and wife team who became Paul’s close friends and even risked their lives for him (Rom. 16:3, 4).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 21:1–22:12
  • Psalm 83:1-8
  • Proverbs 21:1
  • Acts 17:16-34

Notes:

2 Chronicles 21:11 led Judah astray. Undoubtedly he was influenced by his marriage to Ahab’s daughter (v. 6) and was influenced in the alliance just like his father (2 Chr. 18:1). They had not learned from Solomon’s sinful example (1 Kin. 11:3, 4). His wicked wife, Athaliah, later became ruler over Judah and tried to wipe out David’s royal line (2 Chr. 22:10).

2 Chronicles 21:12–15 Elijah, best known for his confrontations with Israel’s Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kin.17–2 Kin. 2:11), confronted prophetically Jehoram’s sins of idolatry and murder (21:13). The consequences from God’s judgment extended beyond himself to his family and the nation (21:14,15). This event undoubtedly occurred in the early years of Jehoram’s coregency with his father Jehoshaphat and shortly before Elijah’s departure to heaven, ca. 848 B.C. (2 Kin. 2:11, 12).

Psalm 83:4 cut them off. The hostile nations, under Satan’s influence, repudiated God’s promise to preserve forever the nation of Israel (Gen. 17:7, 8; Ps. 89:34–37).

Acts 17:18 Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Epicurean philosophy taught that the chief end of man was the avoidance of pain. Epicureans were materialists—they did not deny the existence of God, but they believed He did not become involved with the affairs of men. When a person died, they believed his body and soul disintegrated. Stoic philosophy taught selfmastery—that the goal in life was to reach a place of indifference to pleasure or pain. babbler. Literally, “seed picker.” Some of the philosophers viewed Paul as an amateur philosopher—one who had no ideas of his own but only picked among prevailing philosophies and constructed one with no depth.

Acts 17:28 in Him we live and move and have our being. A quote from the Cretan poet Epimenides.

Acts 17:29 the offspring of God. A quote from Aratus, who came from Paul’s home region of Cilicia. not…like gold or silver. If man is the offspring of God, as the Greek poet suggested, it is foolish to think that God could be nothing more than a man-made idol. Such reasoning points out the absurdity of idolatry (Is.44:9–20).


DAY 13: How did Paul address the philosophers of Athens?

In preaching to them Jesus and the resurrection, Paul was brought to the Areopagus (Acts 17:19). This was a court named for the hill on which it once met. Paul was not being formally tried; only being asked to defend his teaching.

Paul immediately mentioned the inscription on one other object of worship: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. The Athenians were supernaturalists—they believed in supernatural powers that intervened in the course of natural laws. They at least acknowledged the existence of someone beyond their ability to understand who had made all things. Paul thus had the opportunity to introduce them to the Creator-God who could be known. When evangelizing pagans, Paul started from creation, the general revelation of God (14:15–17). When evangelizing Jews, he started from the Old Testament (vv. 10–13).

Declaring to them the “God, who made the world” (v. 24) flatly contradicted both the Epicureans, who believed matter was eternal and therefore had no creator, and the Stoics, who as pantheists believed God was part of everything and could not have created Himself. And adding that “He has made from one blood every nation of men” (v. 26) also confronted them directly. All men are equal in God’s sight since all came from one man, Adam. This teaching was a blow to the national pride of the Greeks, who believed all non-Greeks were barbarians. “And has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” God sovereignly controls the rise and fall of nations and empires (Dan. 2:36–45; Luke 21:24). God is responsible for establishing nations as to their racial identity and their specific geographical locations (Deut. 32:8) and determining the extent of their conquests (Is. 10:12–15).

God’s objective for man in revealing Himself as the creator, ruler, and controller of the world was that they “should seek the Lord” (v. 27). Men have no excuse for not knowing about God because He has revealed Himself in man’s conscience and in the physical world (Rom. 1:19, 20; 2:15).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 19:1–20:37
  • Psalm 82:1-8
  • Proverbs 20:29-30
  • Acts 17:1-15

Notes:

2 Chronicles 19:1–3 Having faced possible death that was diverted by God (18:31), Jehoshaphat was rebuked because of his alliances. The prophet condemned the king’s alliance with God’s enemy, Ahab (1 Kin. 22:2), yet there was mercy mingled with wrath because of the king’s concern personally and nationally for the true worship of God.

Psalm 82:1 congregation of the mighty. The scene opens with God having called the world leaders together. among the gods. Some have taken this psalm to be about demons or false pagan gods. The best interpretation is that these “gods” are human leaders, such as judges, kings, legislators, and presidents (Ex. 22:8, 9, 28; Judg. 5:8, 9).God the Great Judge presides over these lesser judges.

Psalm 82:6 I said. Kings and judges are set up ultimately by the decree of God (Ps. 2:6). God, in effect, invests His authority in human leaders for the stability of the universe (Rom. 13:1–7). But God may revoke this authority (v. 7). “You are gods.” Jesus, in quoting this phrase in John 10:34, supported the interpretation that the “gods” were human beings. In a play on words, He claims that if human leaders can be called “gods,” certainly the Messiah can be called God.

Psalm 82:8 You shall inherit all nations. The psalmist prayerfully anticipates the future when God will set up His kingdom and restore order and perfect justice to a sin-cursed world (Pss.96; 97; Is.11:1–5).

Acts 17:7 contrary to the decrees of Caesar. One of the most serious crimes in the Roman Empire was to acknowledge allegiance to any king but Caesar (John 19:15).

Acts 17:15 Athens. The cultural center of Greece. At its zenith, Athens was home to the most renowned philosophers in history, including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who was arguably the most influential philosopher of all. Two other significant philosophers taught there: Epicurus, founder of Epicureanism, and Zeno, founder of Stoicism—two of the dominant philosophies in that day (v. 18).


DAY 12: How did Jehoshaphat express his faith in the face of adversity?

Second Chronicles 20:1–30 is one of the great stories of faith in the Old Testament. Attacked by a great multitude from Moab and Ammon, Jehoshaphat made the appropriate spiritual response, i.e., the king and the nation appealed to God in prayer and fasting. The fast was national, including even the children (v. 13). Jehoshaphat stood in the redecorated center court praying for the nation, appealing to the promises, the glory, and the reputation of God which were at stake since He was identified with Judah (vv. 5–12). In his prayer he acknowledged God’s sovereignty (v. 6), God’s covenant (v. 7), God’s presence (vv. 8, 9), God’s goodness (v. 10), God’s possession (v. 11), and their utter dependence on Him (v. 12).

The Lord responded immediately, sending a message of confidence through the prophet Jahaziel. “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them…. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD” (v. 15–17).

Here was the praise of faith (vv. 18–21). They were confident enough in God’s promise of victory to begin the praise before the battle was won. So great was their trust that the choir marched in front of the army, singing psalms. People were appointed who should “praise the beauty of holiness” (v. 21). The Lord is beautiful in holiness (Ex. 15:11; Ps. 27:4), but the text here would better be translated “in holy attire,” which was referring to the manner in which the Levite singers were clothed in symbolic sacred clothing (1 Chr. 16:29) in honor of the Lord’s holiness.

Similar to God’s intervention in Gideon’s day (Judg. 7:15–23), God caused confusion among the enemy, who mistakenly turned upon themselves and slaughtered each other (vv. 22–24). Some think this may have been done by angels who appeared and set off this uncontrolled and deadly panic. The destruction was complete before Jehoshaphat and his army ever met the enemy (v. 24).



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 17:1–18:34
  • Psalm 81:11-16
  • Proverbs 20:26-28
  • Acts 16:22-40

Notes:

2 Chronicles 17:3–9 Jehoshaphat made three strategic moves, spiritually speaking: 1) he obeyed the Lord (17:3–6); 2) he removed false worship from the land (17:6); and 3) he sent out teachers who taught the people the Law of the Lord (17:7–9).

2 Chronicles 17:12, 13 These verses indicate the massive wealth that developed under divine blessing (18:1), as well as formidable military power (vv. 14–19).

Psalm 81:16 honey from the rock. This phrase was first used by Moses in his song of praise (Deut. 32:13). Though honey is sometimes found in the clefts of rocks, the intent of the figure here is more likely to valuable food provided from unlikely places.

Proverbs 20:27 the lamp of the LORD. The “spirit” represents the conscience of man which searches every secret place.

Acts 16:24 inner prison…in the stocks. The most secure part of the prison. The jailer took further precautions by putting their feet “in the stocks.” This particular security measure was designed to produce painful cramping so the prisoner’s legs were spread as far apart as possible.

Acts 16:27 prison doors open…about to kill himself. Instead of waiting to face humiliation and a painful execution. A Roman soldier, who let a prisoner escape, paid for his negligence with his life (12:19; 27:42).

Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. One must believe He is who He claimed to be (John 20:31) and believe in what He did (1 Cor. 15:3, 4; Rom. 1:16). you and your household. All of his family, servants, and guests who could comprehend the gospel and believe heard the gospel and believed.


DAY 11: How did Roman law affect Paul and the preaching of the gospel?

The city of Philippi, which was located 10 miles inland from Neapolis, was named for Philip II of Macedon (the father of Alexander the Great). It was a Roman colony (Acts 16:2). Philippi became a Roman colony in 31 B.C., so it carried the right of freedom (it was self-governing and independent of the provincial government), the right of exemption from tax, and the right of holding land in full ownership.

In Acts 16:21, Paul and those with him are accused before the city magistrates as troublemakers who “teach customs…not lawful for us…Romans.” It was technically true that Roman citizens were not to engage in any foreign religion that had not been sanctioned by the state. But it was a false charge that they were creating chaos. Every Roman colony had two magistrates serving as judges. In this case, they did not uphold Roman justice: They did not investigate the charges, conduct a proper hearing, or give Paul and Silas the chance to defend themselves. Instead, the magistrates had them beaten with rods. This was an illegal punishment since they had not been convicted of any crime. The officers (v. 35) under the command of the magistrates administered the beating with rods tied together in a bundle. Paul received the same punishment on two other occasions (2 Cor. 11:25).

Later, when Paul told them they were “Romans” (v. 37), it was a real problem. To inflict corporal punishment on a Roman citizen was a serious crime and made more so since Paul and Barnabas did not receive a trial. As a result, the magistrates faced the possibility of being removed from office and having Philippi’s privileges as a Roman colony revoked.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources
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Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

KJV Listen

Hosea started a scandal in the parsonage. Why? Hold onto your hat-he married a prostitute. Talk about gossip! His name became a byword for "fool." Respect for him dropped to zero. His reputation was suddenly null and void.
Today's 2-minute sound-bite with Pastor Greg Laurie.
Today's 2-minute sound-bite with Pastor Greg Laurie.
Today's 2-minute sound-bite with Pastor Greg Laurie.
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