2 Kings 13:1-14:29
The books of Kings seems to be more and more interesting (for lack of better word) with each passing day. We have a Judges-like cycle of “evil in the eyes of the LORD” happening over and over and over again. We do have a small break in the dark sky where some sunshine is ripping it way through today! For the first time since Solomon’s prayer at the dedicated the Temple, we have a reference to God’s grace. We see that God’s action is an expression of God’s compassion.
God, full of mercy, looks upon the people He has brought oppression to and brings them relief from their suffering. This isn’t because Jehoahaz has been righteous or that anyone else has been righteous. We might infer what God was thinking, that maybe showing them mercy will win their repentance, win them to turn away from their godless leaders ruling them and come back to the LORD properly. In short…it didn’t happen.
God made a covenant with Israel. Not a bargain. A covenant. He acts within this covenant, these promises to Israel, despite their lack of faithfulness. God can’t get out of being faithful to that covenant and its promises simply because Israel doesn’t keep its side of the bargain.
When I look at the church in the West, more specifically in America, and I see it in great decline, I am reminded that God is still faithful when we are not. He will still act on our behalf when we fail to act on His. I pray that our response is different from Israel’s and we see what God is doing in this World and we join Him in it rather than continuing on our godless path as Israel chose to do.
Apollos, a well learned man who teaches with great fervor, only knew of the baptism of John. Pricilla and Aquila brought him in and taught him the way of God more adequately. This teaching would have been about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Paul meets some disciples while traveling and his first question is one I’ve never asked any Brother or Sister I’ve met. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” When they said that they have only had John’s baptism (baptism of repentance) Paul baptized them into the name of the Lord Jesus and placed his hands on them so they would receive the Holy Spirit.
Growing up, I seem to remember being taught that baptism was for repentance and I don’t really remember hearing anything about receiving the Holy Spirit. The receiving of the Holy Spirit is one of the major focal points of Acts. Should we be spending more time talking about it and figuring out what it means to have God dwelling inside of us?